Pathanamthitta: The decision to remove loamy soil from rivers, piled up during the floods, brings environmental impact into focus.
The move could go from dredging up sediments to mindless sand mining, sounding the deathknell for rivers, experts say.
An order has been issued to the effect of mining sand from major rivers.
Of 35 rivers undergoing sand-auditing, 15 have been opened for sand mining, as per an order.
Following which, another order sought to remove loam and silt from all rivers.
Environmental outfits have alongside decided to challenge this move in courts.
The cabinet meeting decided to dredge up sediments by way of warding off floods.
Sediments alone cannot be dredged up, it could surpass to mining sand, environmentalists say.
It was in 2015 sand mining in rivers came to be stopped in the state.
The craters formed in the rivers became normalized following replenishing from 2018 floods.
Sand mining can be allowed only after an expert committee submits a report on sand auditing, said environmentalist C R Nilakandan to Madhyamam.
No auditing has been done even two years after the floods. Sand mining in major rivers and those flowing from forests requires consent from central Ministry of environment.
An order from Supreme Court earlier barred the use of machines in mining the rivers.
He said he would approach court based on these points.
Talking to Madhyamam, NK Sukumaran Nair environmentalist said that sand accumulation in the river never led to any mishaps.
Sand dunes help regulate flow of the rivers. Using disaster management as a cover up, the government is trying to flout the Kerala coastal protection Act of 2001, he said.