Ban on mining of earth without permission

The interim order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) banning digging of earth across the country for making bricks and roads without obtaining prior environment clearance may help save the environmentally sensitive hills and paddy lands in the State.

Indiscriminate razing of hills for road development work, railway development projects, and various other land conversions has been a major socio-environmental issue facing the Central Travancore region for the past two decades.

A study conducted by V.S. Vijayan, former chairman of the Kerala State Biodiversity Board, says that not less than 96 lakh tonnes of earth will be required for converting the wetlands and paddy lands at Aranmula (Aranmula puncha) for setting up the proposed private airport.

Razing of hills has already led to a series of socio-environmental issues, including drinking water scarcity, drying up of wells and water pollution in different parts of Central Travancore region.

Indiscriminate mining of earth from farm lands spread across up to 15 sq km area in the Budhanur-Mannar-Thiruvanvandoor belt in Alappuzha district has already converted many parts of the affected area into stagnant pools of water, posing threat to human life as well as environment.

N.K. Sukumaran Nair, general secretary, Pampa Parirakshana Samiti, says the unscientific digging of earth for brick-making has already done irreparable damage to the groundwater table, hydrological regime, farming sector, and to the environment. The mining of earth in the flood plain areas of Achenkovil and Pampa in the Budhanur- Thiruvanvandoor-Puliyur-Mannar belt in Alappuzha district for brick making has badly affected the farm sector as well as environment.

The Kuttamperoor river and the Uthrappally rivertoo are testimony to this, says Mr. Nair.

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