‘Save Alappad’, protest strengthens across state


KG Rajendran

According to the survey reports in 1955, the village had spread over 89.5 square kilometres. But at present, it has reduced to 7.5 square kilometres.

Kollam: Alappad, a coastal village in Kollam, is facing a major threat following the sand mining since 50 years. The sea is engulfing the village day by day. Alappad is a small village spread in the stretch between Kottapuram - Kollam national waterway and Arabian sea on either sides.

It is reported that the sea shore which had spread over 3 to 5 kilometres earlier has reduced to 20 to 300 metres at present.

The residents here are spending each day with the fear that they will lose their habitat to the sea any time.

Earlier, the residents had plenty of pure water here. But as the sea started to engulf the village, even there is no source of pure water.

Over 5000 residents have left the village so far. The village which once made profit from agriculture and fishing is struggling to survive now. Though the environmental committee of the legislative assembly raised the issue in the Assembly, the government took no action to save Alappad.

Minining started in 1965

The Indian Rare Earths Ltd (IRE), a public sector company, started mining in Alappad since 1965. According to the survey reports in 1955, the village had spread over 89.5 square kilometres. But at present, it has reduced to 7.5 square kilometres.

Vellanathuruthu, a mining site here, might disappear any time as the area is close to sea and backwater is closing on the land day by day.

According to reports, over 20,000 acres of land turned to sea. At present 65000 people are living in this village.

IRE has been mining at 82 acres in Vellanathuruthu. The company has purchased land for mining in other wards of Alappad panchayat.

Agitation under Action Council

On November 1, 2018, an action council was formed to protest against the mining. The action council observed a hunger strike by promoting the slogan ‘Save Alappad and Stop Mining’. The protest has crossed 71 days so far.

“If the mining continues, the national waterway will disappear soon. The water from the sea will flow to agriculture fields and human settlements in the areas stretching from Onattukkara to Upper Kuttanad,” noted the action council.

Government should take action

IRE is not following the environmental regulations of mining imposed by the government. The union ministry for environment has not granted permission to carry out the mining here.

Action council leader KC Sreekumar stated that the assembly committee on environment has reported the environmental impact of mining.

“All natives of Alappad will join together in the protest venue on January 26. They will demand the government to take the responsibility of the issue,” said Sreekumar.

Meanwhile IRE officials reported that the mining operations would not be stopped. They asserted that the mining is on progress by following all rules imposed by the government.

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