‘Illegal sand-mining rampant in almost all rivers in Kerala’

: Environment organisations have called upon the State government not to permit sand-mining in rivers and coastal areas without conducting the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) as stipulated by the National Green Tribunal.

They said illegal sand-mining was rampant in almost all rivers in Kerala, including the Bharathapuzha and Bhavanipuzha, said Indanur Gopi, secretary, Bharathapuzha Samrakshana Samithy.

He said the former Minister N.K. Premachandran had demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into illegal mining and smuggling of mineral sand from Kerala coast to Tamil Nadu, particularly from Alappuzha and Kollam coastal areas.

Rare minerals

Rare minerals such as ilmenite, thorium, rutile, garnet, sillimanite, etc., should be used for economic, space, defence, and aviation development instead of allowing its plunder by private people.

Mr. Gopi demanded that a special ‘Green Police Force’ be formed, with required specialisation, to protect the natural resources in the State.

S.N. Sasiharan Kartha, managing director, Kerala Rare Earths and Minerals Ltd. told mediapersons that “while public and private sector companies faced acute shortage for raw materials like ilmenite, the rich deposit in Kerala coast was illegally mined and smuggled to Tamil Nadu and exported. We have to import the raw materials when it is available in plenty in our coastal areas. This is a big drain on our foreign exchange also. The availability of mineral sand would have created more employment generation and economic prosperity in the State.”

CBI probe

He said since inter-State transport was involved, there should be a CBI inquiry into the smuggling of mineral sand from Kerala coast to other States.

P.S. Panikkar, secretary of Jana Jagratha, said every grama panchayat should set up bio-diversity committees to protect environment.

  • Call to set up bio-diversity panels in all grama panchayats

  • Call to set up ‘Green Police Force’ to protect natural resources