KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Thursday suspended the order of the Thiruvananthapuram District Collector banning quarrying operations at Mookkunnimala, Pallichal.
Issuing the order, Justice P Ubaid made it clear that Metro Aggregates and Sand India private Ltd could carry out quarrying operations, subject to the ‘D and O’ (Dangerous and Offensive)licence, if any, issued by the local authority.
The petitioner submitted that the company was conducting quarrying operations based on the quarry lease certificate issued by the Director of Mining and Geology, and also the quarrying lease executed with the government. They had obtained all licenses, consents and NOCs from all statutory authorities. The court flayed District Collector Biju Prabhakar for not filing a statement in the case.
The court had granted a number of opportunities to the Collector to file a statement explaining how he had issued the order. The Collector had directed to stop crushing and quarrying activities at Mookkunnimala. The petitioner submitted that the Collector was not a competent authority.
The Collector’s order stated that there were massive protests against quarrying at Mookkunnimala. The Vigilance Department had found that the company had obtained licences/permits through fraudulent and illegal means.
“Everyday, quarrying causes a huge loss to the exchequer,” the Vigilance report stated. The Collector issued the order on January 14, based on the Vigilance report.