District Collector to submit report on Mattappally soil extraction this week

Following mass protests, an all-party meeting held last week decided to suspend soil mining and sought a report

November 20, 2023 07:05 pm | Updated 07:05 pm IST - ALAPPUZHA

District Collector John V. Samuel will submit a report on the soil extraction by levelling a hillock at Mattappally, near Mavelikara, to Agriculture Minister P. Prasad this week.

Mr. Samuel accompanied by other district administration officials visited the mining site and nearby areas on Sunday.

Following mass protests, an all-party meeting held last week decided to suspend soil mining at Mattappally. The meeting entrusted the Collector to visit the mining site and submit a detailed report to the government. The Collector has been asked to look into the mining permit issued by the Department of Mining and Geology and whether standard operating procedures were followed at Mattappally.

As directed by the Collector, officials surveyed the land. Though the contractor has been allowed to extract soil from the region, it has been alleged that soil was removed from a survey number outside of the permitted ones.

On November 10, residents clashed with the police over the removal of soil from Mattappally for the development of the National Highway 66. After mining activities resumed two days later, residents, including women and children, hit the roads in protests. The district administration intervened and declared a temporary halt to soil extraction. The all-party meeting held on November 16 decided to continue with the pause on mining until the Collector submits the report.

Residents fear that “indiscriminate” mining would be detrimental to the environment and result in an acute drinking water shortage in the region.

Earlier, the State government and the High Court permitted soil extraction from Mattappally. The residents, however, have filed an appeal in the court challenging the single-bench order. The move to extract soil before a decision by the High Court’s division bench infuriated the residents and resulted in protests.

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