Kollam: The residents of an entire village are on a protest against black sand mining that is gnawing away their land.
The people's protest council raising the slogan 'Save Alappad, Stop Mining' observed a relay hunger strike on Keralapiravi day on Thursday.
Plachimada anti-Coke agitation leader Vilayodi Venugopal inaugurated the protest.
Alappad grama panchayat is a narrow strip of land between the TS Canal and the Arabian Sea in Karunagappally taluk in coastal Kollam.
As per the state's litho-map of 1955, the village had an area of 89.5 square kilometres. According to the protesters, the black sand mining has shrunk it to just 7.6 square kilometres. The narrowest part of the land strip is now just 33 metres between the canal and the sea.
They say the sea washing process by mining black sand by Indian Rare Earth Ltd allegedly violating the CRZ norms has made the sea to inundate the entire coast of Alappad as well as Arattupuzha and Thrikkunnappuzha panchayats in Alappuzha district.
The agriculture including coconut cultivation in Mukkumpuzha and Panakkada fields have vanished from revenue records, they allege.
The Vellanathuruthu area in the panchayat is the worst affected by the mining operations. It has also caused the sea walls to cave in, eroding the shore. The villagers had earlier raised their concerns over the recent move by the IRE seeking permission for mining in Ayanivelikkulangara area in the panchayat.
At a public hearing by the ministry of environment, they raised their dissent against acquiring more mining sites in the district.