Thottappally Residents oppose sand-mining.

Thottappally Residents oppose sand-mining.

Dredging has developed as a major threat to the people living at Thottappally in Alappuzha. The social media is already started an online campaign to #save_thottappally recently and it has gone viral now.

Indignation is brewing at Thottappally against mineral sand-mining that getting worse scenario for nature and human. Recently trucks that transport sand without proper documents were blocked and stopped by local residents. They alleged that the IREL in connection with sand mafias and illegally transporting sand beyond the permissible limit.

According to Purakkad grama panchayat authorities, mining of sand from Thottappally harbor is being carried out without the permission of grama panchayat. They are very much concern about the people living that lives near be the Thottappaly harbor.

The sand mining started in the harbor a few years ago in the name of Thottappally harbor development. The sand deposit was needs to be dredged for developing the harbor. While the indiscriminate dredging continues unabated to this day, the fishing landing center project remains in the file. After the public initiated to extend the #save_thottappally campaign on social media the FLCP project started moving out from the paper.

According to Purakkad grama panchayat vice president V. Sasikanthan “At present, there is no system to calculate the sand transported from the harbor. The sand dredging has evolved as a major threat to the people living in the harbor area. The sea erosion had destroyed several coastal houses. We will not allow them to do dredging like this,” reported on The Hindu.

Besides, mineral sand-mining at Thottappally harbor, the Kerala State government has now decided to remove sand from Thottappally leading channel and estuary for “ensuring smooth flow of water” from the Kuttanad region through Thottappally spillway. The government plan to remove the sand is another allegation connected with sand traders. Natives claims.

“They are doing this in the name of preventing floods. But the truth is a smokescreen to loot rich mineral-sand deposits. Other than removing a sandbank close to the estuary, they are going to cut several old trees in the area. This action will only help to increase the intensity of sea erosion,” said, Saji Jayamohan of Green Roots Nature Conservation Forum.

Mr. Sasikanthan said that the Purakkad grama panchayat was not against dredging of the leading channel but would not allow the removal of sand and cutting of trees at the estuary. “Before taking the decision to sand dredge, the government, Irrigation Department and other concerned authorities should have at least discussed the issue with the Purakkad panchayat. The local authority has been totally sidelined. The present action will degrade the environment further and adversely impact the paddy cultivation in Kuttanad,” he added.

Meanwhile, the UDF party district committee has demanded an immediate stop on mining at Thottappally. “The previous UDF government had given permission to remove only the excess sand deposit that prevented anchoring of fishing boats at the harbor.

However, two years ago the left government through Harbour Engineering Department granted IREL permission for permanent sand mining. This was done without carrying out environmental impact assessment or approval of the grama panchayat. Now, the government has given instruction to the Irrigation Department to deepen the estuary. This is the result of a nexus involving the government, IREL, and mineral sand mafia,” UDF party district chairman M. Murali said.

Photo credits: Indian Express