Uncontrolled quarrying in the Perumkadavila -Marayamuttam belt is again in focus with families staying near a quarry at Vattakkulam hills in Therani complaining of the danger posed by shards of rocks flying into their houses.
Two women who staged a protest at the quarry on Saturday morning were arrested by the Marayamuttam police and released later in the day. According to Rajesh, a resident here, quarrying here begins as early as 4 a.m. on some days, even though the norms stipulate that quarries can function only from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“For the past 2-3 months, quarrying on this hill has continued non-stop. The sound of the rocks being burst are unbearable on some days. Coupled with this is the danger of the rock pieces falling into the houses. There are children in our households, who would be playing outside. Vasumathi (26) and Aswathi (26) went to the quarry today just to request them to not start quarrying so early. But the police arrested them without any reason. Following the arrest, Aswathi’s two children also sat on protest at the quarry. The women were released later in the day, only because of public pressure,” said Mr. Rajesh.
The Marayamuttam police has charged a case against the women under Section 151.
The area is situated near the Pandavan Para, notified by the State as a protected archaeological monument. The High Court had issued an interim order last year banning quarrying within 500 metres of the Pandavan Para.
Unbridled quarrying here came into focus last November, when two people were killed and seven others injured when a portion of a privately owned granite quarry caved in at Marayamuttam.
“The quarry in question also violates the rules regarding quarrying near canals. It is situated adjacent to the Idathukara canal of the Neyyar irrigation canal. The Irrigation department had issued a stop memo last year following complaints. Protests were also held as the canal’s flow was getting blocked in some places. But quarrying still continues. I have faced several threats for raising these issues,” said S. Unnikrishnan, an activist based in this area.
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