MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Quarrying made Kanyakumari coast vulnerable'

Published by MAC on 2005-01-07

'Quarrying made Kanyakumari coast vulnerable'

7th January 2005

P.S. Suresh Kumar, The Hindu

Tamil Nadu, Nagercoil - The large-scale removal of mineral sand from the Kanyakumari coast had made it vulnerable to the tsunami, the convenor of the Nagercoil chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, R.S. Lal Mohan said.

He told The Hindu that if Indian Rare Earths Limited and other private mineral companies had not removed millions of tonnes of coastal sand many lives would have been saved. He also criticised the levelling of sand dunes to lay the coastal road from Manakudi to Pallam and the permissions granted for the construction of buildings within 500 metres of the shore. He advocated a ban on the excavation of mineral sand and the levelling of sand dunes in the coastal areas of the district. He urged the Government to strictly implement the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) notification along the Kanyakumari coast. Though the CRZ notification banned any construction within 500 metres of the high tide mark, a coastal road had been laid from Pallam to Melamanakudi within 10 metres of the mark. The road had been laid by levelling sand dunes, despite opposition from environmental organisations. Now the road had been washed away by the sea. Fewer lives would have been lost if the CRZ notification had been implemented strictly, he said.The INTACH's executive committee has decided to send a memorandum to the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, and other officials for a ban on coastal sand extraction, levelling of coastal sand dunes. It has also asked for the implementation of the CRZ notification in the district.

The INTACH is drawing up short and long-term plans to help the tsunami victims. As a short-term measure, the trust will issue materials such as notebooks to the affected. Mobilising funds to construct houses for the victims are part of the long-term measures, he said.

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