Kozhikode

Environment Committee misled, alleges environmentalist

A report of the Environment Committee of the Kerala Legislative Assembly hinting that all the stone quarries in Kozhikode district were completely authorised and legal, was proof for the State government playing into the hands of the quarry lobby, alleged T.V.Rajan, State Secretary of the All Kerala River Protection Committee.

Mr.Rajan had submitted a petition to the environment committee a year ago, the reply to which was given earlier this month. Mr.Rajan, in the petition had questioned the authorisation and legal compliance of quarries across the district. The committee had sought reports from all departments concerned and had then replied to Mr.Rajan’s query.

The reply letter from the Environment Committee states that all the granite quarries mentioned in the petition were functioning with proper authorisation for years. This includes six quarries in Koodaranhi village and eight in Karassery panchayat. The report says they all have approval from the Environmental Impact authorities at the district level as well as State level, trade licences, explosive licences and permits from the local bodies as well as the Pollution Control Board.

The report also mentions a few quarries in Vayalada, Vattippana, and Mullankolli that have been shut down as they lie within 10 km distance from the Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary, as well as the Thankamala quarry that have been shut down after the licence expired.

However, Mr.Rajan said that the Environment Committee was misled by the departments concerned and that since the committee did not have any powers to investigate on its own, it is forced to accept the reports from the departments.

“We have gone to all these quarries and found that most of them do not even have ‘fit roads’ for the heavy vehicles they need to carry the granite. Some bridges they use were built in the British era and are not fit to support such heavily loaded vehicles. But the government has taken away the sign boards showing the endurance capacity of these bridges, which is quite convenient for the quarry lobby”, Mr.Rajan said.

Mr.Rajan received a similar reply for his questions regarding laterite quarries in the district. The All Kerala River Protection Committee recently joined as a party in the Supreme Court case in favour of the National Green Tribunal against the quarry lobby in Kerala in which the latter, as well as the Kerala State, has questioned the tribunal’s authority to fix the distance between quarries and the nearest residence at 200 metres.


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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 4:44:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/environment-committee-misled-alleges-environmentalist/article34932788.ece

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