Says that the ban will be enforced strictly in Tuticorin district

Collector M.Ravikumar has made it clear that the ban on garnet sand mining in the district would be enforced strictly and cases would be registered under appropriate sections against the violators.

The Collector made this announcement at the meeting he had with the fishermen representatives on Saturday evening.

As mining of garnet sand from the areas adjacent to the coastal hamlets allegedly continued despite the ban by National Green Tribunal (NGT), Periyathaazhai villagers had impounded a garnet-laden lorry a few days ago near their village.

The fishermen from Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts also announced that they would abstain from fishing on Saturday condemning this violation.

In response to the announcement, over 5,000 country boats in the coastal hamlets from Punnaikaayal in Tuticorin district to Koottapuli in Tirunelveli district did not venture into the sea.

Against this backdrop, the fishermen representatives came to Tuticorin Collectorate on Saturday evening to hold talks with the Collector and other senior officers about the continuing “illicit garnet mining” in the coastal areas despite the NGT ban. While the officials insisted that only five fishermen representatives alone would be admitted to hold talks with the Collector and other officials, the fishermen categorically told them that at least three representatives from each coastal hamlet should be allowed to participate in the meeting, which caused a stalemate for a while.

When the officials finally allowed 30 fishermen representative to attend the meeting, they agreed to participate in the meeting that started around 5.15 p.m.

The fishermen representatives said they had to impound the garnet-laden lorry as illicit garnet mining was going on at Periyathaazhai. The Collector told them that the lorry was taking the garnet mined from an area in neighbouring Tirunelveli district, for which the officials of Tuticorin district could not be held responsible.

“We’ve strictly enforced the ban in areas that fall under Tuticorin district, which continues even now. We’ll also register a case under appropriate sections against the erring lorry operators,” Mr.Ravikumar assured, following which the meeting ended.

“Since mining of garnet is still going on in some places in Tirunelveli district, we’ve planned to meet the Collector of Tirunelveli district also to press for our demand,” said S.V.Antony from Uvari, who participated in the meeting.

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