Congress-led Opposition stages walkout on sand mining in Kerala Assembly

Congress-led Opposition stages walkout on sand mining in Kerala Assembly

Agency News

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 5: Opposition Congress-led UDF members on Tuesday staged a walkout from Kerala Assembly in protest against denial of an appointment motion on mineral sand mining in Alappat Village which is in the verge of disappearance.

Seeking the leave of the House to move the adjournment motion on the issue, PT Thomas of Congress urged Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to visit Alappat and hold talks with those staging agitation against mining as the protest entered 100 days on February 8.

In his reply, Industries Minister EP Jayarajan said the locals are supporting anti-mining stir under the influence of external forces.

Stating that Government supports mineral sand mining without causing damage to the environment, the Minister said the mining by the public sector, Indian Rare Earth (IRE), and the Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited (KMML) are providing jobs to thousands of people.

However, the Congress MLA said about 5000 families had already left the village due to mining which affected the existence of roads, churches and temples.

The Government should avoid confrontation and initiative talks with the local agitators, demanding the stoppage of mining, he added.

The Minister said 2004-tsunami and decrease in sand flow from the sea affected the village. The talk with the agitators was sabotaged by external forces especially private players and sand smugglers, he added.

Following the Minister's reply, Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan denied the permission to move the motion.

Later, in protest against the Government stand on the issue, the Opposition staged the walkout.(UNI)