Taking a potshot at Pinaryi-led LDF government’s stand on Alappad, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) activist Medha Patkar said that the State government was not taking the anti-mining stir of the local people seriously even as the Left took the initiative in supporting people’s movements in other parts of the country.
It is shocking that two public sector companies are ignoring the serious environmental impact of mining on the lives and livelihood of the people of Alappad, Medha Patkar added. “It is obvious that the people are fighting this battle with at least 1,000 persons going on a relay fast. The government should have taken steps to open a dialogue with this people’s movement instead of blaming them. They must show their faith in democratic rights because in India, the government at the Centre is proving to be against the democratic rights and processes in development planning,” she said.
Pointing out the silence of political parties, she said the Congress should come forward and take a position. “While the people of Alappad are on a peaceful, non-violent struggle, the government considers the Indian Rare Earths (IRE) a strategic element. So, whichever law is applicable, they should put it before the population that is struggling and give them copies of the licences and clearances they have obtained,” she said.
Ms. Patkar observed that the leasing out should not have taken place without consulting the fishers and farmers of the place.