Rights’ panel order ignored, say environment activists

The Chembanmudy Protection Council and the Chembanoly People’s Action Council have strongly condemned the withdrawal of the ban imposed on Manimalethu Granites at Chembanmudy hillock for granite quarrying.

In a statement on Friday, action council leaders Bose Vargese Kaithala and Shaji Pathalil said the Revenue Divisional Officer’s order showed that the authorities were callous towards issues concerning public health and environmental degradation. They had sidelined the recent order of the State Human Rights Commission not to permit granite quarrying at Chembanmudy before addressing the grievances of the local people.

They objected to the quarry owner’s attempt to restore the natural stream, Ponnaruvithode, as per the directions of the RDO. Restoration of the river alone would not reduce the threat to Chembanmudy hillock, they said.

All India Congress Committee member Peelipose Thomas said the Revenue authorities should have considered the recommendations of an expert team of the Geological Survey of India regarding granite quarrying at Chembanmudy before lifting the ban.

The geologists had stressed the immediate need to rejuvenate all natural streams that originated from Chembanmudy and to fill the ponds formed in the quarries so as to avert chances of landslips during the monsoon, he said.

Mr. Thomas, who is also a former member of the State Planning Board, said that after a minor landslide at Chembanmudy on May 5, the GSI experts had warned against the huge quantity of water collected in ponds formed in the hills due to indiscriminate rock quarrying.

The GSI report had stated that no quarrying should be permitted at Chembanmudy without strictly complying with the recommendations in the report.

The action council leaders asserted that the ongoing public agitation at Chembanmudy would continue with added vigour till the quarries were closed down permanently.

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