Members of the Fishermen United Front, Tuticorin, are not happy with the special team constituted by the State Government

Members of the Fishermen United Front, Tuticorin, have sought a CBI enquiry into the illegal beach sand mining and forwarded a memorandum to Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and the CBI Zonal Director to curb the illegal activity.

Addressing the media here on Saturday, A.Subash Fernando, district secretary of the Front, said the coastal populace had little faith in the special team constituted by Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa that assessed the illegal sand mined in the district in the wake of exposure of illicit mining activities in Vaipar by former Tuticorin Collector Ashish Kumar. The memorandum said since the chairman of V.V. Mineral was a close associate of the Chief Minister and a major shareholder of Jaya TV, they had no faith in the team constituted by the Chief Minister, he added.

The first beach mining company was set up at Manavalakurichi in Kanyakumari district by the Central Government and in the late 90’s V.V. Mineral came into existence. Within 20 years, it had monopolised the industry, he said.

Even when several political parties, fishermen associations and former IAS officers were demanding the arrest of sand mafia, no action was taken to curb illegal mining, which was worth Rs.24,000 crore, the memorandum said.

Whenever there was an allegation about illegal beach sand mining in southern districts, the government officials concerned would either be transferred or demoted.

The memorandum alleged that several deaths had occurred in beach sand mining companies, but they were treated as “industrial accidents” by the police. Several fishermen families had also been threatened to leave their houses, it charged.

Even though the lease given by the Mines Department stipulated several conditions for sand mining along the seashore, none of these conditions was followed by the companies, the memorandum added.