Digging stops after protest from
The Star 31/1/2005
By V.P. SUJATA
IPOH: A group of residents
in Taman Saikat here showed that solidarity is key to overcoming problems
in their areas.
The residents from Persiaran Pinggir Rapat 5 got
together to protest after a company started digging for iron ore in a
vacant plot of land near their area, resulting in three big ponds.
And their persistence, coupled with a helping hand from
their assemblyman, paid off when the authorities directed the developer to
stop the mining activity and close the ponds last Saturday.
According to residents' action committee member K.S.
Maniam, 64, the developer told them that the levelling work was to
facilitate the construction of a playground.
“But excavators were later seen digging the earth and
made three large ponds at the site.
“We then formed an action committee and informed the
state government, Ipoh City Council, Ipoh Land Office and the state
Mineral and Geoscience Department about the digging,” he said.
CLOSER LOOK: Chan (right) and Dr
Elangovan looking at pieces of iron ore found at the ponds in Taman
Another member said he had personally called the land
office and was told that the developer was given permission to dig and
that the ponds would be closed up after completion of the “job.”
The group’s action committee head Dr S. Elangovan said
they suspected the excavation was for iron ore that used to be mined at
the area many years back.
“When everything else failed to stop the mining
activities, we approached the Mineral and Geoscience Department which
issued the directive to stop the excavation as the company did not have a
mining permit,” he said, adding that the residents were assisted by
Simpang Pulai assemblyman Alex Chan.
Chan thanked the authorities for their quick action as
the mining could affect the stability of the ground near the homes and
that of the limestone hill nearby.
Retired college lecturer Sheikh Ibrahim Hussain, 59,
said the ponds were also breeding grounds for aedes mosquitoes and hoped
that the culprits would be dealt with appropriately.
Mineral and Geoscience Department inspector Juna Azleen
Abdul Ghani said the land office had the authority to issue mining leases
after getting the approval of the department.
However, he said the department had not approved such an
application at Taman Saikat.
“The developer was only given a permit by the land
office to move rocks and trees and to level the land and not for digging.
They misused the permit.
“This area is too small and too close to residential
homes,” he said.