Safety of more than 2,500 families living in the area to be affected

Restoration of permit by the government for operating a granite quarry and crusher unit at Nedumparambu in Pathanapuram taluk of Kollam district within two months of cancelling the same has triggered anxiety among the people there.

The permit was cancelled in May following widespread protests expressing environment and safety aspects.

The protesters said that if the units started operations, the safety of more than 2,500 families living in the area of quarry would be affected. Situated in close proximity is a residential school where about 1,400 students study. The permit was restored in July in the face of strong objections from the local panchayat authorities and the Kallada Irrigation Project (KIP) authorities.

The KIP authorities objected to the quarry because the proposed quarry site was located above the Kumpickal tunnel bored through a single rock formation which forms part of the KIP’s right bank canal course. The panchayat had insisted on a clearance from the KIP authorities for considering the application for operating the quarry there. Social activist T.K. Feroze Khan, who is heading the people’s campaign against the quarry, said that it was without obtaining these two mandatory clearances that the Industries Department had in July last cleared the permit based on a second appeal from persons who intended operating the quarry there. Interestingly the same department had in April while acting on the first appeal from the applicant stated that the “proposed quarry will be a permanent threat to the people of the locality. Hence the geologist in Kollam has been directed to cancel the quarrying permit issued earlier.” The order in this connection states that the geologist concerned had “failed to conduct a comprehensive study on the environment and ecological impacts the quarry will have on the residential buildings, road, educational institutions, and the KIP tunnel.”