They submitted a petition to District Revenue Officer P. Uma Maheshwari during the weekly grievance day meeting.

Around 400 fishermen including 75 women from the coastal hamlets of the district submitted petition to District Revenue Officer P. Uma Maheshwari during the weekly grievance day meeting on Monday seeking the State Government’s permission for resuming sand mining operations, “which is the livelihood of hundreds of fishermen families”.

The petitioners from Kooduthaazhai, Kottappanai, Uvari, Kooththenkuzhi, Idinthakarai and Perumanal said the permission accorded by the Union Government to huge fishing trawlers for deep sea fishing had badly affected the revenue of fishermen of the district. When the fishermen migrated to Kerala in search of any job in the fishing industry also had to return to their native places empty handed as demand for labourers from Tamil Nadu had shrunk.

Around 5,000 unemployed fishermen, in a bid to feed their families, were working as labourers for the Indian Rare Earths Limited and other companies exporting sand. Since the operation of the sand mining and exporting units had been stopped abruptly, it had seriously affected the livelihood of these fishermen and consequently left their families in deep trouble.

“At the same time, mining of sand did not cause any problem to any coastal hamlet in the district and pose any threat to the fish crafts as mining is being done only at a safe distance only after obtaining all mandatory permissions. Even as majority of the fishermen and other communities of this region are in support of sand mining operations, only a few are opposing it for personal reasons and indirect gains. Hence, the Chief Minister should allow the sand mining units to resume their operation as usual,” they said.

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