Stop Mining & Save Alappad, Kollam, Kerala, India

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#StopMining n #SaveAlappad !!!

The beach sand mining, which has been going on for years, has caused massive soil erosion along the coastal stretch between Chavara and Alappad in Kollam district of Kerala, India. 

At the same time, the fact that the sheer existence of a people and the place they call home is in danger... and for some reason, it’s still the poor cuisine of the favorite prime time news. It's heartbreaking and disgusting to see the government agencies itself destroying the Mother Nature and lives of innocent human beings. But this nagging thought that a #hashtag is all it’s going to be is a little depressing. I can only hope..that this voice of mine joins an ever growing chorus, and sooner rather than later, we make enough noise that action is no longer a choice for the concerned authorities.

In 1968, two public limited companies, Indian Rare Earth, which comes under the Centre, and Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited, under the state government, began mining beach sand in the region. According to reports, while a litho map of Alappad village showed 89.5 square kilometre of land in the area, this shrunk to a mere 8 square kilometres of land by 2019.

Meanwhile, aggrieved fisherfolk from the coastal hamlets of  Alappad have gathered at a village called as Vellana Thuruthu and are on a relay hunger strike which saw its 68th day on 7th January 2019. The 23-kilometre stretch of land between Chavara and Alappad - which lies between the backwaters and the ocean in Kollam - has been vanishing in chunks under the ocean and from the revenue books for years now, thanks to illegal sand mining that has continued for nearly half a century.

If this strip of land erodes any further and the backwater merges with the beach, this would submerge land and villages all the way until upper Kuttanad. This is highly possible as, in certain areas, the distance between the backwaters and the sea is just 20 metres. More than the pollution caused due to mining, this is a far graver issue that has to be addressed immediately.

According to the protestors, the sea washing process for mining black sand by Indian Rare Earth Ltd. allegedly violating the CRZ Norms has inundated the entire coast of Alappad and Arattupuzha and Thrikkunnappuzha panchayats in Alappuzha district. The agriculture, including coconut cultivation in Mukkumpuzha and Panakkada fields, has vanished from revenue records, the protestors allege. The Vellanathuruthu area in the panchayat is the worst affected by the mining operations, they said. The mining has also caused the sea walls constructed in some of the coastal areas to cave in causing the shore to erode.

Perhaps if I talk more about this issue, more people will be aware of this. I do not have the authority to take any action but I would like to bring this to the attention of those who have not heard about the Alappad anti-mining campaign and hopefully bring some change.

#StopSandMining n #SaveAlappad !!! This movement is only gonna get stronger everyday until every single mining operations come to a standstill and the beautiful land of Alappad is saved.