Protest mounts against hillock razing in Ernakulam

Green activists join hands to stop removal of red earth from hillocks near Mulanthuruthy in Ernakulam

KOCHI: There is mounting protest against razing down Manakkamala, one of the biggest hillocks near Mulanthuruthy. The Kerala Sasthra Sahitya Parishat and various other social, political and residents’ organisations have started a strong agitation against the removal of red earth from there violating norms. Though the Mining and Geology Department and the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority have given environmental clearance for the removal of red earth, it is not based on any scientific facts, allege green activists.

The Manakkamala Samrakshana Janakeeya Samithi has approached the southern bench of National Green Tribunal for cancellation of the environmental clearances given for razing down the hillock situated in an ecologically fragile area. The hearing has been scheduled for October 17. The excavation of red earth from Manakkamala, spread across more than 35 acres of land, started one year ago after the quarry mafia secured permits for removing more than 25,000 metre cube (m3) red earth.

“The Environment Impact Assessment Authority has given two environmental clearances so far. Our demand is to cancel those ECs and a comprehensive legislation for conservation of hillocks in the state,” said Mr A. Suresh of Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishat. The excavation had to be stopped following strong protest. Later, they approached the High Court for resuming the mining. Though permission was granted, mining could not be resumed.

During a recent ‘Manushya Samgamam’ programme organised by the people’s council, Mr Anoop Jacob MLA made it clear that none will be allowed to remove the red earth ignoring public protest. The hillock and the adjoining vast areas of paddy land are major water-holding sources. “All political parties, people’s representatives and residents’ groups are against the mining which will have serious ecological impact. Quarrying is rampant in the eastern parts of the district against which some of the grama panchayats have taken stern action. Several parts of Mulanthuruthy, Edakkattuvayal and nearby panchayats are now reeling under acute water scarcity after massive quarrying,” he added.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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