It seems that the ongoing standoff between environmentalists and certain mining companies in the state over a CBI probe is practically for no reason. Environmentalists accuse authorities of concealing details of the CBI probe and companies claim that there was no ongoing inquiry into the matter. This has been a matter of debate between the two parties for quite some time in the state.
“At present there are no ongoing CBI inquiries into mineral sand mining activities in the state. There is a petition pending before the High Court demanding a CBI inquiry into mineral sand mining,” said a CBI official.
However, environmentalist C R Neelakandan claimed that there is an ongoing CBI probe into the mineral sand mining activities in the state and the report is yet to come out. “It seems that the companies have spent a lot of money to conceal the report. Our stand is that we will not allow mineral sand mining in Thrikkunnapuzha and Arattupuzha panchayats in Alappuzha district.
Though an environmental impact assessment study was conducted in Chavara in this regard, the recommendations were not implemented.
“Private companies are increasingly lobbying for getting permission for mineral sand mining,” he alleged.
Echoing the same concerns, environmentalist Purushan Eloor said that there is a CBI inquiry going on into the alleged irregularities in an agreement signed with certain private companies for mineral sand mining .
“After conducting a proper environment impact study, mineral sand mining could be done by companies in the public sector. But not in Thrikkunnapuzha and Arattupuzha panchayats as these are ecologically fragile areas,” he added.
Speaking on the issue, S N Sasidharan Kartha, Managing Director, the Cochin Minerals and Rutile Limited, said that there are no CBI inquiries into mineral sand mining in the state.
“There should be a CBI inquiry into mineral sand mining in the state covering all the details related to the topic. We are very much open to such an investigation,” he added.
It is learnt that the CBI had submitted a report an year ago on mineral sand mining activities in the state to the Department of Atomic Energy .