Kozhikode

Greens demand review of permits granted to quarries

It is alleged that several quarry operators in the district have managed to secure NOC from the authorities by wielding influence.

It is alleged that several quarry operators in the district have managed to secure NOC from the authorities by wielding influence.  

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Quarry units being issued clearance ignoring locals’ concerns, they allege

In the wake of the Kattippara landslip that claimed 14 lives, a number of local environmental organisations working in the rural areas of Kozhikode district have demanded a review of clearance granted to large-scale quarries functioning in environmentally-sensitive regions.

The organisations alleged that there were quarry operators who had managed to secure NOC from the authorities by wielding their influence to proceed with illegal mining.

Leaders of Paristhithi Samrakshana Samiti pointed out that the 13-member district-level committee comprising officials of the district administration and the Geology Department should act more responsibly and review permission granted to various quarry operators. The practice of issuing environmental clearance to quarry projects without consulting local residents or looking into complaints already raised should be stopped, they said. A samiti leader said it was the negligence on the part of the Geology Department that had led to the mushrooming of quarries in environmentally-sensitive regions. The projects were sanctioned only on the basis of some technical approvals won by investors in the field and without looking at environmental issues or public concerns, he claimed.

Since the largest number of quarries in the district are within Kodiyathur and Karassery panchayat limits, environmental organisations are planning to take up protest campaigns in the areas first. Peruvampoyil Prakruthi Samrakshana Samiti, an active movement by environmental activists in the Thottumukkam region, is at the forefront of the protest.

Leaders of the samiti said a large-scale quarry functioning in Karassery panchayat was a classic example to expose flaws in the environmental clearance process. In the recent monsoon downpour, waste from the quarry filled up a number of rivulets in the region, besides spoiling agricultural fields, they alleged.

Protests are also gaining momentum in Kavilumpara, Koodaranhi, Koombara, and Kodiyathur where quarry operators continue mining activities flouting all safety guidelines. Some farmers’ movements too have come out in support of the fight against illegally operated units.

Meanwhile, following protests by residents and environmental organisations in Kottur panchayat, the district administration has decided to review the environmental clearance granted to a quarry project at Chengottumala. The residents had been on the warpath against the project, claiming that it would dry up water sources and affect other natural resources. The decision to review the clearance was taken after District Collector U.V. Jose and Revenue officials visited the spot.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 11:29:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/greens-demand-review-of-permits-granted-to-quarries/article24248409.ece

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