17 Y.O. Kavya’s Video Of A Village In Kerala Puts Anti-Mining Campaign In Force
- IWB Post
- January 11, 2019
Like any other millennial, Kavya S from Alappad in Kerala’s Kollam district experimented with recording a video on one of the popular mobile apps Tik Tok, where she spoke about the environmental impact about sand mining activity that has been taking place over the years, making the land vulnerable.
Three weeks after sharing the video with her friends on WhatsApp, Kavya had no idea that it could initiate an important anti-mining campaign at the heart of Kerala’s public discourse. Several villages on the coasts of Kollam and Alappuzha in southern Kerala are rich repositories of black sand that contains minerals like monazite, ilmenite, rutile, and zircon. And because of this, the land has been ripped away of its precious minerals since the mid-60s, under the auspices of the Centre’s Indian Rare Earths Limited and the state-owned Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited.
The video made by Kavya brings out a strong message which shares the fears of village residents as the said land is about to fall off the map due to extensive dredging and excavation works that has been undertaken by two public-sector firms. The video has successfully stirred a campaign that has become a talking point on various television news channels, radio stations, social media networks, and the word has been intensified with Malayalam cinema’s young actors like Prithviraj Sukumaran and Tovino Thomas coming out in its support.
Over the years, despite protests being held by locals, the mining companies remain undisturbed till now.
“In the video, all I have done is express the pain of the people in my village. It’s not a political speech. In my own little way, I’m happy I could contribute to the cause and I’m glad that the public of Kerala are supporting us,” says Kavya.
The locals have taken on an indefinite hunger strike that has completed 70 days until now, demanding an immediate stop to the mining activities that has been taking place in Alappad.
Referring to the earth moving equipment, Kavya shares, “To see the land beneath our feet sink away is an extremely sad sight. Today, the mining works are at the northern end of Alappad, but there’s a fear in people’s minds that very soon the JCB will land at our doorstep.”
According to the protesters, the land of Alappad stands between the sea and the national waterway, which makes it extremely fragile for coastal erosion and the Indian Ocean Tsunami which had hit the coastal village of Alappad, claiming the lives of 143 people.
Recollecting the August 2018 floods, K Chandradas, a former fisherman and the chairman of the protest body said, “During the floods in August 2018, when people were stuck in their houses in areas like Chengannur and Pandanad, 465 fishermen from Alappad alone took their boats and rescued thousands. Before anybody asked us, we did our duty. We showed Kerala and the world the meaning of humanity. Today, we are asking Kerala to save our land.”
The 72-year-old is hopeful that with the support from youth, the protest will bear a good result. “During protests in earlier years, the mining companies were able to coerce our leaders to end the fight by offering them plum posts. But the youth of today cannot be bought. We have worked very hard,” he added.
H/T: The Indian Express