ALAPPUZHA: Authorities do nothing to stop illegal sand mining of Naaluchira surrounded by the Travancore-Shoranur (TS) canal in Purakkad, a nightmare for paddy farmers for long. On Wednesday, Kerala State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC), ordered Ambalappuzha Tahsildar immediate steps to check violation of Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act after M. Satheesan, a resident, complained of widespread crop losses. The sub-collector, confirming sand smuggling there, in his report, had assured the NHRC to intensify police patrolling and that Purakkad village officer was asked to act under Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act.
Tahasildar (land records) C. Ajith Kumar said they had constituted squads under assistant Tahasildar to check it. “We need a boat to reach Naaluchira. Unfortunately, we were not provided with one. So we find it difficult to reach there,” he said. An official at the village office said a new VO assumed charge only a couple of days ago. "He will take up the matter after studying,” he said. The area, part of Kuttanad, is well-known for its 10,000 hectares of Kari land where farmers sow single crops annually. It has now shrunken, and many farmers have given up. “We have taken this up with them several times. But none acted," says V.C. Madhu, a former panchayat president.
“When we sought local police protection, they said they have no facility to reach the spot. When Pulinkunnu police, equipped with a boat, was approached, they ignored.” The special branch police, a couple of years ago, he says, came and gathered details and left. Nothing happened. “The smugglers come in country boats in the dark with high power motors. They mine with motors and pile the sand up on the other side where nobody can reach without a boat," he said. “The shadow police should camp here every night and catch them.”