The Chunkappara-based people's action forum, Thottathumkuzhy Powra Samiti (TPS), has called upon the government and the authorities concerned to take immediate steps to stop the “unscientific quarrying of rocks on the ecologically sensitive Avolimala at Chunkappara in Mallappally taluk, which is causing alarming environmental degradation in the locality.
In a statement issued here on Thursday, George Sebastian, TPS secretary, said the local people had been protesting against the granite quarrying and crushing since 2005. The crusher unit owners had been flouting all pollution control norms and mining rules, leaving the people and the ecosystem at the receiving end. Drying up of wells due to depletion of groundwater and lung ailments caused by the dust from the crusher unit were the main problems facing the locality, he said.
The TPS leader alleged that a “powerful contractor- politician- official unholy nexus'' was behind this anti-environmental activity going on in the hilly tracts adjoining the Ponthanpuzha forests for the past six years.
The Kerala High Court had constituted an expert committee chaired by V.S. Vijayan, Chairman of Kerala Biodiversity Board, which observed that the quarry and the crusher unit “hamper the natural springs and irrevocably damage the ecology of the area, especially the micro water system.''
The report submitted by the committee to the High Court in 2009 said that its study “clearly shows that the quarry and crusher cause and continue to cause damage to the birds and wildlife in the forests lying close to the site, affect the plants and health of people living around.''
The study also found the north-east slope of the Avolimala landslide-prone, Mr. Sebastian said.
Moreover, the Survey of India had identified the Avolimala one of the 3,500 great trignometrical (GT) stations in the country as part of the Great Trignometrical Survey held 210 years ago, he added.