CESS had been told to submit report on sand-mining

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Monday ordered that sand collected from “kadavus” (river beds) in the district should be distributed only through ‘Kalavaras’, the fair price outlets for sand and other construction material.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice S.R. Bannurmath and Justice Kurian Joseph also directed that no private trade of sand be allowed. The judges also directed the State government to take steps to open more Kalavaras in the district.

The court also permitted the Ernakulam District Legal Expert Committee to monitor sand-mining in the upstream of the Periyar at the Sree Sankara Bridge, Kalady, for six months. The quantity to be mined should be half of what had been collected from there the previous year.

The court passed the directives on the basis of the report submitted by the Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS).The court had directed the CESS to submit a report when a writ petition filed by Prakrithi Samrakshana Samithi, Aluva, came up for hearing.

The CESS recommended that immediate steps should be taken to assess the sand-mining in the Periyar river in the district through a sand audit by a competent authority.

The CESS said that no sand mining should be allowed in the river stretch downstream of the Kalady bridge without conducting the sand audit.

As the upstream was comparatively less degraded than that of the downstream, sand-mining from the kadavus in this stretch fixed previously by the District Level Expert Committee could be permitted for six months, limiting the quantity of sand to half the amount allotted last year.

The CESS also said that the quantity of sand extracted during this period should be closely monitored. The authorities concerned should ensure that there was no unauthorised mining, it said.

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