With Monsoon slowing down its fury in Kerala, the state government has withdrawn its ban on mining and quarrying activities in the state, which many believe to be a challenge on the Kerala Public. The quarries are said to be one of villains that led to the landslides in Kavalapara and Puthumala that took more than 80 lives in the last two weeks.
Despite revoking the ban on the quarries, the government should have held a comprehensive study of all the quarries that could have helped in identifying those that should be permitted. “Revoking the ban is a big challenge on the Kerala Public. It will not do any good for the state,” environmentalist Ravi Chalakudy told www.indianf.com.
In the circular of the Mining and Geology department, it has been said that the ban on the quarries has been revoked as the rains have slowed down and the Disaster Management Authority lifting all alerts.
Noting that the government’s actions have once again proved that it was not willing to learn from the disasters, he said “the government should have conducted a study on the environment as well as the disaster aspects of each and every quarry before the ban was revoked.”
He said that the quarries have proved to be one of the main reasons for the recent major landslides that took the largest number of lives. “The Land use pattern has changed. Moreover, it has to be noted that the government had given permits to a lot of quarries even after the last floods and landslips. If we do not look at all the issues in its seriousness, Kerala is going to see more disasters in the coming days.”
The monsoon rains in the state had led to landslips in about 30 places with the environmentalists and experts putting the blame on the exploitation of Western Ghats, especially with respect to quarrying and mining activities.
Pointing out the ban and revoking it after just ten days was a mockery, environmentalist C R Neelaklandan said that the government’s intention of issuing a ban at the time of rains was only for helping the quarries. “In the circular, it has been said that the ban was revoked as the rains have slowed down. Does this mean that the ban would be imposed again if it rains again? Everyone knows that mining and quarry activities were not possible during rainy season. So the people have been fooled by imposing a ban. This ban was not intended to help the state,” he said.
He also said that the government should have held a study of the environmental as well as the disaster aspect of all the quarries before the ban was revoked. Moreover, he also said that the government that showed all interest in revoking the ban should also take interest in stopping all illegal quarries from functioning.
In Kerala, about 6000 quarry units are functioning and more than half are said to be illegal. A recent report has said that more than 50 per cent of these quarries are functioning in the sensitive Western Ghas.