NHRC seeks clarification from Kerala Govt. over illegal sand mining

New Delhi, Nov.18 : The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought further clarifications from the Secretary, Revenue Department, Government of Kerala and District Collector, Kannur for not explaining the legislative and administrative actions taken for preventing illegal and indiscriminate sand mining from the seashores in the State.

The Commission had issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Kerala and District Collector, Kannur, after taking suo motu cognizance of Jazeera V.'s allegations that the State Government was not acting against the sand mining mafia despite the Chief Minister's assurance.

In response, the District Collector, vide his letter dated October 26, has given a detailed account of the action taken by the Administration to prevent illegal sand mining in Neerozhukumachal area.

The Commission had sent this letter for comments of Jazeera V. In response, vide her letter dated November 7 she stated that her demand for prevention of illegal sand mining was not limited only to that area, but for the entire State of Kerala. She also alleged that the organisation called 'Puthiyangadi Theeradesa Janakshema Samithi' was purportedly set up by the very same persons who conducted illegal mining of sand.

The Revenue Secretary Department has also made an identical statement. He has also given details of the action taken by the State Government under the Kerala Protection of River Banks and Regulation of Removal of Sand Act, 2001 and Kerala Protection of River Banks and Regulation of Removal of Sand Rules, 2002.

The Commission has observed that the said Act and the Rules do not apply to seashores and removal of sand from seashores. It is to protect riverbanks and riverbeds from large scale dredging of river sand and to protect their biophysical environment system.

The Government or the District Collector has not explained the legislative and administrative action taken for preventing illegal and indiscriminate mining of sand from seashores, and therefore the commission has sought clarifications on certain questions, and has asked them to submit it within four weeks.

--ANI (Posted on 19-11-2013)

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