Kollam: Magsaysay award winner Rajendra Singh, popular as Waterman of India, joined the protesters in Alappad on Sunday, declaring solidarity with the villagers who have completed 150 days of their relay hunger strike under the campaign 'Save Alappad, Stop Mining'.
"Blatant violation of law is happening here. I could perceive a huge disaster awaiting Alappad. How could the governing bodies not witness the distance between land and sea coming closer," Mr. Singh said.
Even after five months of relay hunger strike, the authorities have not yet taken a stand favourable to the villagers squarely ignoring their demands. Even the expert committee formed under the direction of state government is yet to hear the grievances of the protesters in an apparent soft stand towards the violators.
The claims by the company or the government bodies that support the mining in Alappad have fallen flat after the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) in an RTI reply recently confirmed it has not given Indian Rare Earths Ltd (IRE) environmental clearance for mining at Alappad. It is the responsibility of the district administration and the concerned local body to take action against the illegal mining, it says.
According to the CRZ-1 notification by the ministry of environment, forest, and climate change, the mining site in Alappad which is a sea coast, requires impact study before issuing an environmental clearance.
The protest, which took an organised form on November 1, turned a massive movement under 'Save Alappad, Stop Mining' campaign with various social and cultural activists declaring solidarity with the people of Alappad, despite sabotage attempts by the local body and bureaucrats.
Alappad grama panchayat in Karunagappally taluk is located as a narrow strip between the TS Canal and the Arabian Sea in coastal Kollam. As per the Litho Map of 1955 by the Government of Kerala, the village had an area of 89.5 square kilometres. According to the protesters, the black sand mining in the area has shrunk it to just 7.6 square kilometres. The narrowest part of the land strip has become just 33 meters between the canal and the sea.
According to the protesters, the sea washing process by mining black sand by Indian Rare Earth Ltd. violating the CRZ norms has made the sea to inundate the entire coast of Alappad and Arattupuzha and Thrikkunnappuzha panchayats in Alappuzha district.
The agriculture including coconut cultivation in Mukkumpuzha and Panakkada fields have vanished from Revenue records, the protesters allege....