Chakkittapara Panchayat denies nod for mining
Anticipating a hostile response from local people and environmentalists, the Chakkittappara grama panchayat has rejected an application of the Karnataka-based MSPL seeking local clearance for iron ore mining at Alampara village in Kozhikode.
This is the second time the Hospet-based MSPL Limited, the flagship company of Baldota Group, is applying for mining in 406.45 hectares in the ecologically sensitive region.
“The company approached us for granting permission for undertaking mining activities two months ago. The application was placed before the grama panchayat and it had been rejected as the region was ecologically sensitive,” Sheeja Sasi, president of the CPI (M)-controlled Chakkittappara panchayat, said.
The Alampara region is demarcated as ecologically sensitive in the K. Kasturirangan report on the Western Ghats. Already an order by the Central government exists on banning mining in these sensitive regions. Besides, the grama panchayat did not want to earn the wrath of the local people, party sources said.
MSPL had approached the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests for granting terms of reference as part of environmental clearance for the Alampara iron ore mining project in 2014. Earlier, it had secured in-principle permission for mining in 53.9303 hectares in Mavoor village and 282.22503 hectares in Kakkoor village, both in Kozhikode district, for 30 years.
However, the company had not been able to get the required clearances under the Forest Conservation Act and the Environmental Protection Act and approval for its mining plan from the Indian Bureau of Mining before in the allocated areas.
In 2013, the then Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) government cancelled the permission given to the company considering the allegations over the decision of the earlier LDF government and the Central government’s order banning mining activities. Now the company had given a fresh proposal for the mining project.
Significantly, the UDF government, following a recommendation from the Industries Department, had also ordered a Vigilance probe into the allegations that former Industries Minister and CPI(M) leader Elamaram Karim had granted sanction for the project.
However, the Vigilance had decided to drop the case citing inconsistencies in the statements of the complainant and difficulties in obtaining evidence. But the file is pending with government.