Action council slams clay-mining permit

Staff Reporter

920-day-old agitation ignored, says Velichikala Action Council

Council alleges groundwater depletion and pollution

Authorities stipulate drinking water scheme by company

KOLLAM: The Velichikala Action Council has registered protest against the district administration’s decision endorsing clay mining by English India Clays Limited at Velichikala.

In a statement here on Saturday, patron of the council Odanavattom Vijayaprakash said that the decision was tantamount to serving the interests of the company.

The decision to endorse the mining activity was taken at a high level meeting chaired by District Collector A. Shahnavas on October 10. The permission was on the condition that the company carried out the mining as per the stipulations of the Kerala State Pollution Control Board and the Mining and Geology Department.

But the Council stated that the official decision was made totally ignoring the 920-day-old demonstration by Velichikala residents in front of the company. The demonstration was to highlight the environmental damage that mining activity had caused in the area, Mr. Viajayaprakash said.

One of the main contentions of the Action Council was that mining activity had alarmingly depleted the traditional water sources in the area, creating drinking water problems.

In order to address this problem, one of the conditions laid down by the district administration was that the company should take steps to commission a drinking water scheme in the area within three months. The company should also fill up the mined area.

But the Action Council stated that the drinking water scheme will only remain a pipe dream. Mr. Vijayaprakash said that the Action Council was denied representation in the meeting.

The district administration clarified that the council insisted on having five persons as representatives. But the district administration’s stand was that only one representative could be accommodated. This led to the Action Council boycotting the meeting.

Health problems

Another serious contention of the Action Council was that the mining activity had created serious health problems in the area. Mr. Vijayaprakash said that mining has caused contamination of water sources in the area with high levels of iron sulphide, sodium phosphate, and nitrates.

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