Thiruvananthapuram: Quarrying is continuing within five km of Kavalappara in Malappuram which was struck by a landslide resulting in the death of over 60 people. The LDF government had earlier banned rock quarrying in the state following the rain havoc. On Saturday alone, 50 loads of granite were crushed by the local quarries, according to reports.
The situation would have been worse if a cabinet decision taken on March 5 approving a change in land law for facilitating mining in areas having title deeds had been implemented. The GO was released on March 8, but Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekharan and his department officials allegedly did not see the file. This led the revenue department to stall the order or else there would have been further mining in the landslide-prone zones.
A three-member committee comprising a geologist, village officer and agricultural officer is supposed to inspect the area which has title deed to know whether the land is suitable for farming or not. Accordingly, the district collector would give a no-objection certificate citing that the land is suitable only for mining.
The cabinet’s decision allowing rock-mining had snowballed into a major controversy with the CPI taking on the CPM.
Former KPCC president V. M. Sudheeran, who was instrumental in bringing this issue before the LDF government, told DC, “unfortunately, there has been no study on the ecological or social impact of mining. Imagine the fate of the people living in those areas where mining would have happened without any rhyme or reason,” he said.
The order is still pending before the revenue department and it may be approved in due course.
The revenue minister’s office confirmed that it was the minister’s intervention which prevented the GO from being implemented.
“The district collector will grant permission for quarrying in the land which is not suitable for agricultural purposes. Following the floods and landslides, it will take a while for the revenue department to grant permission as the implications have to be studied properly,” said Abdul Wahid, private secretary to the revenue minister....