Alappad (Kerala), Jan. 11 -- Abandoned homes, deserted school, heaps of sand, a lone temple and dried up mangroves.

These are the remnants of a once green Ponmana village under the coastal Alappad panchayat in Kollam district in southern Kerala where locals are up in arms against beach sand mining, blaming it for sea erosion eating up their lands.

They claim hamlet after hamlet was 'disappearing' from the map due to mining activities by the Indian Rare Earth (IRE), a central Public Sector Undertaking, and state government-owned Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited (KMML).

Seeking to save their remaining villages, the people of Alappad and nearby hamlets under the banner of Anti-mining People's Protest Council have been on a relay-hunger ...