CMO allowed more ghats for sand mining against CESS advice
The reply to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed that the Chief Minister’s Office of Kerala has permitted more sand mining ghats to be opened than what was recommended by the Centre for Earth Sciences Studies (CESS) for the 2012-13 season.
The reply to the application stated that the Kerala CMO allowed twelve more ghats than were recommended by CESS to be opened in the Okkal, Koovappady, Kanjoor and Neeleeswaram-Malayattoor panchayats. Under the Kerala Protection of River Banks and Regulation of Removal of Sand Act, the District Expert Committee on sand mining is authorized to identify the river banks in a district in which sand removal may be permitted. The District Expert Committee had approached the government contending that some rectifications were needed to remove the defects in the CESS recommendations.
However, experts are apprehensive about the deteriorating condition of the Periyar due to excessive sand mining. The studies have revealed that the sand quantity mined from the Periyar is 30 times more than what is environmentally sustainable.