The State Government has finally, after nearly 70 days, agreed to have talks with the protestors at Alappad who have been on an agitation against beach sand mining that has been eating away their land.
Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma on Saturday said the government was ready to hold talks with the Alappad protesters who have seen support from actors Prithviraj and Tovino. Social media is abuzz with support to the cause of the protesting villagers.
The Minister who till recently took a tough stand supporting 'development' in Alappad which has been witnessing rampant and indiscriminate mining. Exactly five decades ago, two public sector units, Indian Rare Earth of the Centre and Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd of the State began mining beach sand. The then litho map of Alappad village showed 89.5 sqkm which now has shrunk to 8 sqkm.
Mercykutty has said the talks would look at arriving at a consensus on the issue. She claimed the Government was with the people. No mining that would lead to collapse of the shores would be allowed. The industries department would initiate discussions with the agitating fisherfolk, she added.
The Government appears to have realised that agitations to protect the environment were gaining popularity and cannot be ignored. In this case, the stepping in of youth icons Prithiviraj and Tovino has made the youth lent support. The August floods saw young people come in hordes to save the State then. The floods have were an eye-opener to the needs to protect environment and have a new eco-friendly development strategy.
The Government would build groynes to check erosion and orders to float tenders had b issued, she added. The Government was against the present way mining was being done by IRE. She noted that even the Assembly Environment Committee report earlier had sought orders for mining without adversely impacting environment.