Staff Reporter

Greens seek study on environmental impact

KOCHI: Environmentalists in Ernakulam district have opposed the district administration's decision to sanction new ghats (kadavus) in the Periyar without analysing the environmental impact of sand-mining.

They pointed out that the expert committee on sand-mining sanctioned 77 ghats without conducting a proper analysis of the impact.

Based on complaints received from residents in various panchayats, the association representatives urged the authorities not to sanction new ghats in the district.

Secretary of the Association for Environment Protection S. Sitaraman said that the ghats were allowed within 500 metres of bridges and irrigation projects.

The River Protection and Sand Mining Regulation Act clearly mentioned that ghats should not be allowed near bridges and irrigation projects. Studies had shown that ghats near such areas would affect these projects.

Professor Sitaraman said the administration should introduce regular squads to check illegal mining in ghats. He said action should be taken against those panchayats issuing passes without ensuring the guidelines prescribed for mining.

Directives issued

Meanwhile, the district administration has directed that the date and time mentioned in passes issued for sand-mining should be sealed using cellophane tape. A meeting of the expert committee on sand-mining here on Thursday decided to cancel the licence of panchayats found violating this directive.

The district administration will initiate a drive from Monday to ensure that cellophane tape is used in passes issued for sand-mining. Members of the expert committee will review complaints on ghats sanctioned recently by the district administration.

The committee will consider applications for new ghats. It will submit a report after visiting various ghats on the banks of the Periyar. New ghats will be allowed on the basis of this report.

A meeting will be held on November 21 to review the projects proposed under the river management fund. The expert committee will later decide on whether new projects should be included under the river management programme.