The move to resume the functioning of a granite quarry under police protection on the environmentally sensitive Chembanmudy hills in Ranni taluk, disregarding the denial of licence by the grama panchaayt for operating the quarry, sparked tension in the locality on Friday.

The situation turned tense when the quarry operators, accompanied by workers, reached Chembanmudy with permission obtained from the District Collector to resume functioning of the Manimalthu Granites and Crusher unit there in the forenoon.

The quarry and crusher unit had remained closed for the past few months following strong public agitation against it. The grama panchayat had also denied the licence to operate the quarry and crusher unit.

The villagers, under the aegis of the Chembanmudymala Samrakshana Samiti and People’s Action Council, thronged Chembanmudy, protesting against the Collector’s decision. A few action council workers climbed to the top of the hill, holding cans of kerosene, and threatenening to immolate themselves, if granite work was resumed.

Following the strong public protest, District Collector, Pranab Jyotinath, withdrew the permission and asked the quarry to stop functioning.

AICC flays Collector

In a statement issued here, Peelipose Thomas, All-India Congress Committee (AICC) member, accused the Collector of providing police protection to the crusher owner for operating the granite crusher unit at Chenbmanmudy in violation of the prevailing laws of the land.

Mr Thomas alleged that the permission given by the Collector was in gross violation of the specific order of the National Green Tribunal that no mining activity should be permitted without obtaining the mandatory environment clearance from the Union Ministry of Forests and Environment. The Environment and Climate Change department of the State too had asked all panchayats not to permit any mining activity in their jurisdiction without the Environment Clearance from the MOEF, he said.

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