THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It is reported that a startling incident has come to light in Idukki district, where a quarry located in Inchiyani, Alakode Panchayat and owned by Maria Granites, was discovered to have been painted.
The motive behind this unusual act was to conceal extensive illegal mining operations taking place at the site.
The surreptitious painting of the quarry in black was an attempt by the owner to avoid detection by government officials who could potentially uncover the unlawful mining activities. However, the operation was exposed when locals managed to capture visuals of workers carrying out the painting task.
When local residents engaged in strategic conversations with two workers involved in painting the rocks, it became evident that the purpose behind the act was to conceal the ongoing illegal mining. Subsequently, the locals registered a complaint.
Despite the concerned locals promptly filing a complaint with the revenue-geology department, no tangible action has been taken thus far. This lack of response is particularly distressing given that stones worth crores of rupees have been illicitly extracted from the quarry, violating Buffer Zone restrictions meant to safeguard the region’s ecological balance.
Local residents have voiced their suspicions of political interference, hindering officials from addressing the issue effectively.
The unabated mining activities in the area pose a significant threat to biodiversity, prompting growing concerns among the community. Allegations suggest that certain contractors, enjoying political patronage, are acquiring mining permissions, thereby bypassing regulatory measures. While the quarry was officially authorized to mine 572.2 metric tons of stones, it is alleged that the actual extraction far exceeds this permissible limit, reaching up to three times the approved amount.
Meanwhile, records indicate that the quarry owner had faced penalties on three separate occasions in the past for engaging in unlawful mining activities. Despite a High Court decision demanding criminal charges against such violators, the violations continue with seeming support from certain quarters, including the police.
This alarming situation has garnered widespread attention and concern, urging authorities to take swift and decisive action to hold the quarry owner accountable and curtail further environmental damage caused by unauthorized mining.