Police have seized six tipper lorries, two mini lorries recently

Even as the Madras High Court has banned all sorts of mining activity along the Tamirabharani, illicit sand quarrying goes on in a few black spots on the city’s outskirts.

As the Tamirabharani sand had been plundered round-the-clock since 2006 for sale in neighbouring Kerala for a premium, veteran CPI leader R. Nallakannu, after a prolonged battle, obtained a five-year ban on mining activity in the perennial river from Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court in December 2010.

Different picture

However, the present situation along the Tamirabharani course gives a totally different picture.

Any person visiting places like Kodaganallur, Suththamalli, Pazhavoor, Paalaamadai, Manappadaiveedu and Thirumalaikozhunthupuram will witness how sand mining goes on unabated.

Employing labourers to load lorries with river sand round-the-clock, the sand mafia is back in action.

“We sell the river sand for Rs.5,000 a unit as we’ve to bribe the police, revenue and mining department officials,” says a tipper lorry driver from Seevalaperi, who was recently nabbed by Palayamkottai police for illicit sand quarrying and was also accused of attempting to murder a revenue official with his vehicle carrying illicit sand when he tried to prevent the crime.

Though six tipper lorries and two mini lorries, all allegedly involved in illegal sand quarrying, have been impounded by the Palayamkottai police and the vehicles with the mineral have been parked in front of the police station for the past couple of weeks, the lucrative business goes on.

Informers who alert the police feel betrayed when they are attacked by the outlaws. In the latest incident, two youths suffered cut injuries near Rajavallipuram on Monday night in a suspected attack by illicit sand miners.

Assurance

A top official attached to the Department of Mining claims that they are taking all-out efforts to curb the menace in a bid to comply with the court’s ban. “Still, the offenders succeed in their attempt… We’ll strengthen our patrolling so that the court’s ban gets translated into action,” he says.

More In: Madurai