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Round-the-clock protest to check beach sand-mining

Special Correspondent
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A woman and her three children have been staging a protest in front of the Collectorate here since July 11 demanding action against illegal extraction of beach sand from near her home at Puthiyangadi here.

She had earlier staged a sit-in near the Pazhayangadi police station here raising the same issue.

Jaseera Vadakkan, 31, began her protest outside the Collectorate amid heavy downpour on July 11. She alleged that the assurances made by the district administration to end the sit-in outside the Pazhayangadi police station were not fulfilled and extraction of beach sand continued unabated near her house at Neerozhukkumchal. She has been sitting on the pavement near the Collectorate with her three children, including a one-and-a-half-year-old boy. Additional District Magistrate (ADM) O. Muhammad Aslam spoke to her on July 12 and urged her to suspend the protest till July 16 when an all-party meeting would be held at the Madayi panchayat to discuss the issue. But she refused, and woman police personnel took her and the children to their house on Friday night. But around midnight, she resumed the protest.

When contacted, the ADM told The Hindu that concerted awareness programmes were required to stop illegal extraction of sand from the area as local people, including women, were involved in it. The all-party meeting at Madayi on July 16 was to mobilise local support for the initiative, he said. The safety of the children is a concern for the Child Welfare Committee. Though the committee had informed the authorities that they would protect the children, Ms. Vadakkan had refused to hand over the children, the police said.

Tamil writer and poet Meena Kandaswamy who was here to release a book on an environmental activist visited Ms. Vadakkan at the protest venue and expressed solidarity with her.

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