Kerala: Minister of State for Tourism Suresh Gopi assures protection of Varkala Cliffs

Massive erosion over the years has destroyed the laterite soil from the cliff base, due to which visitor turnout has reportedly reduced in the popular tourist spot, which is located about 45 km from the state capital.
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Minister of State (MoS) for Tourism Suresh Gopi on Saturday, June 22 said that the Varkala Cliffs in Kerala will be protected and experts will be engaged for its preservation. Massive erosion over the years has destroyed the laterite soil from the cliff base, due to which visitor turnout has reportedly reduced in the popular tourist spot. The MoS was visiting the site along with Union Minister V Muraleedharan, Geological Survey of India (GSI) deputy director (Kerala unit) V Ambili, and Thiruvananthapuram District Collector Geromic George to assess the level of damage.

“Varkala Cliffs will be protected. Everything will be done scientifically. The government will also engage experts for the protection of these cliffs,” Suresh Gopi said. On June 7, Collector Geromic George had ordered the removal of trees and a portion of the cliff under the Disaster Management Act, in a bid to prevent landslides near Bali Mandapam at Papanasam cliff. This triggered widespread protests from environmental activists. Sanjeev SJ, an activist from the Environment Protection and Research Council (EPRC), moved the Kerala High Court against the collector’s order alleging misuse of the Act. He alleged that the cliff was demolished to protect two illegal constructions near the beach.

Located about 45 km from the state capital, Varkala Cliffs overlook the Arabian Sea. They were declared a national geological monument by the GSI in 2014. The Cenozoic sedimentary formation cliffs are a unique geological feature on the otherwise flat Kerala coast and are known among geologists as the ‘Varkala Formation’. Over the years there have been studies conducted on how to maintain this unique creation, but not much headway has been made by the successive governments.

(With inputs from IANS)

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