Residents Protest Against Sand Mining in Beach Alapuzzha

Reported by

Stella James

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

July 12, 2017

July 12, 2017

Updated on

July 12, 2017

Location of Conflict

Thottappally

Alappuzha

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Sand Mining

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

30000

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

1700

ha

Starting Year

2003

State

Kerala

Sector

Mining

In 2003, the state government of Kerala decided to lease out a 17 km stretch of state owned land from Valiyazhikkal to Thottappally in Alappuzha district to Kerala Rare Earths and Minerals Limited (KREML), a joint sector company, to conduct mineral sand mining for 20 years. The coast line of Alappuzha is densely populated with fisherman community and is one of the most populated stretches in the country. They depend on small  small-scale fish distribution, fish curing, peeling etc. Sand mining in the area poses grave environmental as well as livelihood problems and may impact the fishing stock in the region.
The protests intensified in 2013 when the mining did not stop and residents began to realize the full implications of the mining on environment. Protests were conducted by local residents, especially fishermen, supported by other Kerala-based people's and environmental organizations.
In 2016, residents and local environmental organizations further intensified the protests and cordoned the area in an attempt to stop mining equipment and vehicles from entering. The mining stopped in June 2017, presumably due to the expiry of license, and protests were stopped, but locals are worried that operations may resume if their license is renewed.
In January 2019, it was reported that besides sand mining at Thottappally harbour the state government has now decided to remove sand from the Thottappally leading channel and estuary to ensure a smooth flow of river water from Kuttanad region through the Thottappally spillway. While they claim this move is taken to prevent floods, but the Green Roots Nature Conservation Forum allege that this move will increase sea erosion. Following this decision, the protests became stronger, as the state government gave permission for cutting down trees and removing mineral rich sand to widen the estuary. In May 2020, the local residents and CPI members conducted a protest march to Thottappally which was blocked by the police. Similarly in July, local residents with Janakeeya Samara Samithi organised a ‘people’s barricade’ against mineral sand-mining at Thottapally. The women took active part in the protests by jumping downstream the Thottappally spillway channel demanding the removal and transportation of sand from the area.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Opposition against environmental degradation

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

400

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

2003

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines dated 2016
Provision 4.1: Requires the preparation of District Survey Reports (DSR) which is supposed to include 'identifying measures for protection of environment and ecology'; Provision 4.1.1 (c): Creating 'mining' and 'no mining' zones keeping in mind things like ecology and habitation
Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957
Section 4A: authorizes the government to terminate a lease where the government is of opinion that it is in the interest of "preservation of natural environment, control of floods" to terminate the same
Kerala Minerals (Prevention of Illegal Mining, Storage and Transportation) Rules, 2015
Section 3: Prohibition on mining except with a license under the The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957
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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Violation of environmental laws

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Blockades

Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Kerala Rare Earths and Minerals Limited, Indian Rare Earths Limited

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Image Credit:  

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