Days after the video of a 17-year-old girl from Kerala speaking on the environmental impact of sand mining activity in her coastal village of Alappad went viral, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday sought a report from the Kollam district administration, after taking note of a story published by indianexpress.com.
The Kollam District Magistrate and state pollution control board were asked by a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel to furnish the report within a month.
“Let the District Magistrate, Kollam and Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) look into the matter and take appropriate action in accordance with law and furnish a factual and action taken report to this tribunal within one month from the date of receipt of copy of this order by e-mail…. “The District Magistrate, Kollam is given liberty to associate the District Mining Officer of the area. The KSPCB will be the nodal agency for coordination and compliance,” the bench was quoted as saying by PTI. The matter will now be heard on March 29.
The tribunal’s direction came after taking suo motu (on its own) cognizance of news reports published in indianexpress.com titled “17-year-old’s video gets Kerala talking of impact of sand mining” and Matrabhoomi Daily.
The news report, dated January 11, mentioned about Kavya S, a class 12 student who made the video about the environmental impact of the decades-long black sand mining activity in her village Alappad.
The video, in which she relays a village’s strong fears about falling off the map due to extensive dredging and excavation works by two public-sector firms, has become a huge talking point on television news channels, radio stations, and social media networks. Her video and word of the campaign have been amplified by Malayalam cinema’s young actors like Prithviraj Sukumaran and Tovino Thomas.
Alappad and several villages on the coasts of Kollam and Alappuzha in southern Kerala are rich repositories of black sand that contains important minerals like monazite, ilmenite, rutile, and zircon. Sand mining activities began in Alappad in the mid-60s, mainly under the auspices of the Centre’s Indian Rare Earths Limited and the state-owned Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited.