Case against a private company that had bagged the contract for dumping waste from the Cochin Port Trust, and Assistant Estate Officer of the Trust
: Protest is simmering against the destruction of mangroves in the coastal belt of the city even as the Forest officials have legally proceeded against a private company for damaging the shrubs.
The Divisional Forest Officer, Malayattoor, has registered a case against a private company that had bagged the contract for dumping waste from the Cochin Port Trust and Assistant Estate Officer of the Trust for dumping refuse on the mangrove tract.
The Forest Department has obtained a copy of a consent letter issued by the Trust to the private company regarding dumping of refuse. The case was registered at the Mekkappara office of the department, said Suneel Pamidi, the Divisional Forest Officer, Malayattoor.
Mangrove vegetation in around 5 hectares has been destroyed due to dumping of refuse. The destruction of mangroves invites a minimum fine of Rs. 10,000 and imprisonment of six months. Notices would soon be issued to the private firm and the official of the Trust, Mr. Pamidi said.
It was earlier reported in The Hindu that large tracts of mangroves were being destructed in the coastal belt of the city. The Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority had directed the District Collector to act on the complaints against ruining the vegetation.
The Theeradesha Matsya Thozhilai Union has decided to block the tanker lorries that bring slurry from various sites for dumping near LNG terminal.
On an average, 200 tanker lorries used to transport the slurry from different construction sites to the area outside the LNG terminal. Large tracts of mangroves had already been destroyed and those remaining might wither away soon, said N.S. Suresh, the secretary of the Union.
As the protest from the fishermen intensified, lorries have stopped transporting waste to the site. The union has petitioned the State Forest Minister, Forest Department officials and the Ernakulam District Collector against the destruction, said trade union leader Charles George.
The union has also decided to approach the Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority against the destruction of the vegetation.
The destruction has escaped the attention of the public as there is tree cover outside the dumpsite. The union would intensify the agitation against the destruction, Mr. George said.
Mr. Suresh said the refuse was earlier dumped in the water, destroying the nets of fishermen. The unscientific dump, besides causing ecological damage, was affecting the livelihood of a large number of fishermen. The fishermen have decided not to allow any further dumping at the sites.