Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan has called for a study by an all-party delegation of MLAs into issues involved in the functioning of the granite quarries of Moonnilavu grama panchayat, including their impact on environment and livelihood of the local residents who are predominantly tribes people.

Addressing a public meeting after visiting two of the controversial quarries on Saturday, Mr. Achuthanandan said he would like to find an amicable solution to the problem and, as such, would inform the Chief Minister and the Speaker regarding the issues.

According to the complaints he had received, the quarries were flouting the

regulations. “This cannot be allowed. We have to find a lasting solution to the problems,” he said.

Naming two of the quarries he had visited, namely P.V. Granites and Mankombu Granites, Mr. Achuthanandan hoped the House committee would visit the quarries to have a first hand information about their functioning. “The people are aggrieved. The quarrying can affect the availability of water. The complaints refer to the insecurity in the minds of the local people on account of the unscientific methods used,” he said.

If found illegal, the quarries would have to closed down, Mr. Achuthanandan said and added that illegal quarrying was a business in which “a few were trying to make millions bringing misery to thousands. They will try to buy out the owners of the land they identify for quarrying. However, they would not hesitate to stifle any voice of dissent.”

The Opposition leader said that Moonnilavu was an area where the tribes people belonging to Mala Araya community, though poor, had led a peaceful life. Now their peaceful way of life and livelihood were under threat from illegal quarrying. He said.

Mr. Achuthanandan, who visited the granite quarries and metal crushers functioning in the panchayat at the invitation of the Mala Araya Samrakshana Samithy , was given a rousing welcome at Kanjiram Junction.

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