THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After the Geological Survey of India had initiated a survey on Kollam, Chavakkad and Ponnani coastal areas on sea sand mining, there has been mixed reactions to Government's proposal. While KPCC president V. M. Sudheeran has objected to it, Government Contractors Association is favouring it citing the presence of several tonnes of sand formation in the deep sea. On Monday, industries minister A. C. Moideen replied to Hibi Eden’s submission in Legislative Assembly that there was a huge demand for sand in Kerala. With illegal sand mining, riverbanks are caving and seawater reaching rivers, making bridges unsafe across the state.
Mr Moideen said it was the Geological Survey of India’s marine and coastal survey which probed on the possibility sand wealth in the western regions of Arabian Sea. “The GSI studied Kollam, Chavakkad and Ponnani regions. But more studies have to be held as several factors are to be examined in detail, as the impact on the fisheries sector and also whether the transitory fish population would be affected,” he said. He also informed the house that other Union government organisations like Fisheries Survey of India, Central Marine Fisheries Institute and National Institute of Oceanography also have to do a combined study.
But the biggest opposition is going to be from the fisherfolks. Already Mr Sudheeran who has always been against sand mining has come out in the open demanding abandonment of the proposal. But, Kerala Government Contractors Association supports mining both the sea and dam. Its president Varghese Kannampally said 50 nautical miles off Kerala coast in several regions have sand deposits. “It can be scientifically processed at sea. Then it can be segregated ashore and send to the market. The processed sea sand will cut prices by half. The US and the Middle East exploit them in a big way,” he said.