Public protest is brewing over the move to set up a granite quarry in Munduparakunnu on the Manukkunnu hills in the Mepadi grama panchayat area in the district. The area is a major biodiversity hotspot in the Western Ghats.
A four-member team from Mukkom in Kozhikode district has purchased close to 20 acres of land from nearly 30 marginal farmers in the area a few months ago and all the trees on the hill slope have been axed to start a granite quarry and a crusher unit.
The team had acquired permission from the Revenue Department authorities to start a granite quarry on 50 cents of land in the 20 acres, P.A. Poulose, chairman of a farmers’ action council said. A quarry unit had functioned in the area till the end of March this year but, the district administration stopped the functioning of it after the intervention of the public, he said.
K.V. Kuryan, convener of the organisation, said the hill slope was an ecologically fragile area and a landslide occurred there nearly three years ago.
Close to 100 families live in the area, including tribesmen, and they fear that the functioning of the quarry unit would adversely affect their normal life. The Mundupara rivulet, a tributary of the Kabani river, originates from the hill slope and hundreds of villagers in Mundupara, Noorekkar, Thrikkaipetta, and Vellithode villages fear that their drinking water source would be destroyed if mining started in the area, T.P. Joy a farmer in the area said.
A group of farmers under the aegis of the organisation had blocked digging work on the land for mining activities on Friday and they submitted complaints to revenue officials including the District Collector against the quarrying unit. .