Kerala

Probe into suspected mining of gemstones in Palode forests

The Forest Department has instituted an enquiry into the suspected mining of semi-precious gemstones in the interior forests of Palode.

The investigation got under way after forest watchers reportedly discovered an over 10ft-deep pit in Manachala in Kallar under the Palode forest range some days ago.

The region, located close to the Braemore estate, is known for its natural deposits of gemstones including Chrysoberyl, Cat’s eye, and Alexandrite.

In spite of a camp shed being established by forest authorities nearly one-and-a-half kilometres away from the particular area, various quarters alleged that forest personnel could have lowered their guard of late in wake of the recent spate of rainfall and ensuing mud-slides in the area. The racketeers could have exploited the situation to embark on the illegal mining operation, they claimed.

Sources said pump sets and other items that could have been used to extract the stones were found in the vicinity. While residents nearby claimed that gemstones worth lakhs of rupees could have been mined, forest officials maintained the chances were remote since the pit was not dug deep enough to extract the reserves. They suggested their intervention could have foiled the operation midway.

Similar attempts had been made in the past to mine gemstones. A group of Bharathannoor natives had been apprehended by the Forest department following the last-such unauthorised excavation that was reported in 2014. Officials suspected a similar involvement of those who hailed from the region and were well-versed with the topography and difficult terrain.

The presence of gemstones were found during explorations conducted by various agencies in parts of the district including Andoorkonam, Aruvikkara, Balaramapuram, Bonacaud estate, Pirappancode, Venjaramoodu, Vembayam, Nedumangad, and Pothencode, besides river stretches including the Kallar-Vamanapuram river.


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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 10:13:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/probe-into-suspected-mining-of-gemstones-in-palode-forests/article37886679.ece

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