Kerala

NGT order remains on paper

The district administration has not acted on an NGT directive issued on August 7. A quarry at Muthalamada near Palakkad.— Photo: K.K. Mustafah  

The inability of the Palakkad district administration to enforce an order of the southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) stopping operations of all mining and quarrying units in 14 ecologically sensitive villages in the district has evoked concern.

Though the NGT’s judicial member P. Jothimani and technical member R. Nagendran issued a directive to the District Collector on August 7 to issue stop memos to all mining and quarrying units in these villages, no action had been taken so far.

In its reply to a query under the Right to Information (RTI) Act by social activist K.G. Kannadas, the Revenue Department confirmed that no step had been taken to implement the order though the district administration received three petitions requesting to execute the order.

Though the NGT issued a similar order to the Mining and Geology Department, the department had failed to act on it.

The quarries are exploiting resources of the villages, including granite, laterite, river sand and red soil. Most of the identified quarries are located in the Muthalamada region on the foothills of the Nelliampathy ranges.

As per the NGT order, no mining and quarrying activity can be permitted at Kizhakkanjeri, Muthalamada-1, Muthalamada-2, Nelliampathy, Thadavayal, Agali, Kottathara, Pudur, Kallamala, Sholayur, Malampuzha-1, Malampuzha-2, Pudussery east, and palakkayam villages that have been classified as high-risk ecologically sensitive areas.

Mr. Kannadas said about 34 quarries were functioning in these villages with government consent. An equal number of illegal quarries were also functioning too. .

Recently, hired goons of a quarry owner at Muthalamada had allegedly roughed up a group of environmentalists protesting against the quarrying activities.

AAP campaign

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arumukhan Pathichira, one of the activists who sustained injuries in the attack, said the refusal of the district administration to act against the quarry lobby reflected the nexus it had with the bureaucratic-political leadership.

He said the AAP would launch an agitation seeking implementation of the order.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2021 6:42:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/ngt-order-remains-on-paper/article7661291.ece

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