Thiruvananthapuram: Just as protest against sand-mining at Allapad mounts, Industries Minister E P Jayarajan threw a monkey wrench into the stir on Sunday indicating no halting of mining.
There was no question of stopping public sector companies from mining, the minister said coming down on the protest in the coastal area.
His assertion came days after Chief Minister convened a conciliatory meeting in the wake of continuing hunger strike.
“There is nothing illegal about the mining activities by KMML and IRE. Both companies will continue to mine sand.” E.P. Jayarajan was quoted as saying. The coastal stretch at Allapad was protected by a sea wall, he said.
As well as stressing that the government would address the protesters’ concerns, he said, however, that it had no intention of stopping the mining activities.
Jayarajan dubbed the campaign as aimed at subverting the public sector companies involved in mining.
“The government will examine the forces behind the protests to see if they are backed by the illegal sand-mining lobby.” He said.
The minister’s statements invited criticism from the Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala who would visit Allapad on Monday.
Meanwhile, CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran said that the government could not afford to ignore people’s concerns.