Nod to quarries near Parambikulam Tiger Reserve as Kerala govt officials spar

Quarries near Parambikulam Tiger Reserve, authorities refuse to budge
Representational Image

Thiruvananthapuram: Even when the forest department has sought to shut down quarries near forest regions, the mining and geology department in Kerala has allegedly given permission to open quarries within three kilometres of the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve in Palakkad district. Though the Palakkad district geologist submitted a report on this, the mining and geologist director K Biju allegedly did not take any follow-up action.

The forest department had already sought to shut down quarries within the 10km radius of the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. However, the director reportedly gave permission by claiming that he did not get the map of quarries.

During this, the Palakkad district geologist shot off a missive to the director, seeking action against the quarries. In the letter to the director, the geologist has pointed out that permission was given for setting up of new quarries at Kollengode village in Chittor in Palakkad. This area falls within the three-km radius of the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve. The director is allegedly yet to cancel the permission order.

Based on a letter sent by the Nemmara divisional forest officer (DFO), the district geologist had first sought action against quarries. When no action was taken, the chief conservator of forest sent a letter to the director. Even then action was not taken, citing the non-availability of the quarries' maps.

Collectors too, did not budge?

Peechi wildlife warden AO Sunny subsequently informed these developments to the Thrissur and Palakkad collectors in his report. While pointing out that the functioning of illegal quarries in the forest regions along the Thrissur-Palakkad border was contempt of court, he sought directives to be issued to the officers concerned to put an immediate end to this. However, both collectors allegedly refused to take any action.

No action, despite the map

Nemmara DFO N Rajesh had given the list of the quarries functioning in the 10km radius of the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. Five quarries are functioning in the Kollengode range, while eight quarries in the Alathoor range. This is not in accordance with the High Court order and violation of the law.

The DFO had reported in April along with the names of the quarries, their area and the distance from the forest. Most of these are big quarries with more than one hectare of area. Therefore, only the geology director has the authority to put an end to this. The Palakkad district geologist had also informed this, but no action was taken.

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