The proposal to set up plant to mine mineral sand from Alappuzha coast has kicked up a row. The fresh proposal was made as part of the ‘Emerging Kerala’ summit to be held in September.
However, the fresh move comes at a time when the agitation against the permission given to Indian Rare Earths to mine mineral sand from Thottappilly coast is gaining momentum.
The Kerala State Mineral Development Corporation (KEMDEL) has uploaded a project profile on the ‘Emerging Kerala-2012’ website inviting participation to set up a heavy mineral concentration plant in the coastal areas of Alappad, Arattupuzha and Kayamkulam.
The KEMDEL has invited application from industrialists to set up the plant near
Kayamkulam ‘pozhi.’ A total of 1.5 hectares of land can be used for setting up the plant, for which about `8.5 crore will be needed, the profile says.
The project is proosed to be implemented through public-private-participation (PPP) model. A project to excavate mineral sand from the coast had created much furore in 2005.
Based on the Justice John Mathew report, the Union Coal Ministry had given permission to the then UDF government to mine mineral sand from the area.
However, various political parties opposed the move and the government had to drop the plan.
Recently, the state government gave nod to Indian Rare Earths to mine mineral sand from the Thottappilly coast. The decision was taken based on a study conducted by IIT Chennai in connection with the preparation of the Kuttanad Package. However, the government move has led to widespread protests. The Kuttanad
Package had recommended to clean up the Thottappilly ‘pozhi’ for the smooth flow of water from the Kuttanad region. But, it was alleged that the government gave permission to mine sand in the pretext of the package. Political leaders, including several UDF leaders, opposed the move. Union Minister of State for Power K C Venugopal asked the government to drop the plan to mine the sand.
But now, the fresh decision to mine sand from Aarattupuzha and Thrikunnapuzha coasts will spark off strong opposition from the public.
“We cannot accept the decision to mine sand from Aarattupuzha and Thrikunnapuzha. Aaratupuzha panchayat is located between the sea and the lake. If the mining is carried out in the area, the lake will gradually merge with the sea and hundreds of families will become landless. We had opposed the move of the previous government to mine sand from the area,” Aarattupuzha panchayat president K Karunakaran said. “We will not allow mineral sand mining here. The mineral sand excavation will wipe out the coast. A resolution in this regard will be passed in the panchayat committee meeting to be held on Thursday,” Karunakaran said.