THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Mineral sand miners at Alappad will be asked to stop the practice of sea washing of mineral sand for one month. However, inland washing will continue, Industries Minister E P Jayarajan said after a meeting with the Alappad agitation council on Thursday. However sticking on to its demand on a ban on mining, the agitators said they would continue with the protest.
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An expert committee will be assigned to study the issues related to mining at Alappad, Jayarajan said. The committee headed by T N Prakash, CESS scientist, should submit its report in a month. The government will take further steps on the basis of the report. Stakeholders will be asked to halt sea washing until the report is submitted, the minister said. The government will consider the demand to include a representative of the local population in the committee.
The government will not allow disruption of the area’s peace due to the intervention of external forces. The people of Alappad should maintain vigil against this, he said. The minister said mineral sand was a wealth given by the sea. It should be used for the economic growth of the state. The government will examine how mining can be done without damaging the area. Steps will be taken to resolve the issues of people and to retain the IRE.
Damaged sea walls will be reconstructed. IRE will be asked to install more tetrapods. The pits due to mining will be refilled. A monitoring committee chaired by the District Collector will monitor the mining activities. IRE will be asked to conduct CSR projects in Alappad.
Protest to continue
The anti-mining agitators’ committee will continue its protest. “We want the mining to be stopped. We will protest until death. Only the industry matters for the government, not the people,” they said.
The minister has asked the agitators to withdraw from the strike as one of their major demands - to stop sea washing - has been accepted. However, the council rejected the same.