Where sand-mining ban is a hot issue


The continuing ban on mining of river sand and its impact on hundreds of households have surfaced as a hot campaign issue in five grama panchayats. Peruvayal, Mavoor, Olavanna, Perumanna, and Feroke are the local bodies where the candidates directly feel the heat of the issue.

Though the local bodies have very little power to alter the State government order, the voters have been making use of every opportunity to put pressure on the candidates for a change in the order.

“If people in Malappuram district can mine sand from the Chaliyar, why can’t us,” they argue.

K. Thankamani, vice president of Olavanna grama panchayat, says the issue has been a deciding factor even in the finalisation of candidates in some of the wards in Olavanna. “Out of pressure, independent candidates have been fielded in some wards as people consider this as a serious livelihood issue,” she adds.

Peruvayal and Mavoor grama panchayats too echo the argument as several sand mining points are now remaining closed following the ban citing ecological hazards. People’s representatives from here admit that there is certainly a point in the argument as they see two different laws in two districts.

“In my wards, a section of voters firmly believe that the ban order is meant to support the M-sand lobby. They are even aware of the appointment of a private agency to study the impact of sand mining on the Chaliyar river sidelining the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management from the task,” says K.P. Sarasu, incumbent president of Feroke grama panchayat. She says the voters directly express their anger on seeing the candidates.

In support of the sand-miners’ issue, a district-level coordination committee of such labourers led by M.M. Koya and Jabbar Elamaram too is also on the field to mobilise mass support and largely invite the candidates’ attention to the issue. According to them, the ban on sand mining has been affecting the livelihood of hundreds of families from these panchayats and that the local bodies here have a larger role to play for their protection.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 9:32:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/where-sandmining-ban-is-a-hot-issue/article7816608.ece

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