Sand trade is being transacted as per norms and all efforts have been undertaken to prevent smuggling and illicit quarrying in the State’s river beds, Public Works Department Minister K.V. Ramalingam said at Thimmachipuram near here on Friday.

Speaking after conducting a “surprise’’ inspection at the Thimmachipuram sand quarry, Mr. Ramalingam pointed out that the Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had announced in the Assembly her determination to root out sand smuggling and illicit quarrying. Besides, she had reiterated the determination of the State Government to deal firmly with those indulging in illicit quarrying. In pursuance with the avowed aim, the Minister said he was conducting the “surprise’’ inspection to see if all was well in the sand quarry.

Mr. Ramalingam expressed satisfaction that everything was going as per prescribed norms and that all the PWD officials were ensuring that sand quarrying went on as per department guidelines and court directives. In the past one year, illicit sand quarrying and smuggling of sand to neighbouring States have been hugely controlled.

The Minister warned that stern action would be taken against those indulging in illicit quarrying as noted by the Chief Minister. Besides he also derived satisfaction that revenue from sand sales has bolstered the Exchequer when compared to the previous years.

The PWD minister also inspected the progress of the construction of a new barrage across River Cauvery at Mayanur and said that the works would be completed by March next. Officials and contractors have been directed to hasten civil and related works to expedite the Rs. 234 crore project. Already 42 pillars have been raised on the Right Bank side of the river while another 36 have been raised on the Left Bank side, he added. If five metres level of water could be stored in the barrage, the quantum harnessed would be around 1.04 tmc ft at the barrage water spread, he observed.

Transport Minister V. Senthil Balaji, Superintending Engineer, Middle Cauvery Basin, Tamizharasan, Executive Engineer, Special Project, Kumaresan, Assistant Executive Engineer, PWD River Conservancy Division, Podhupani Thilagam, and others were present during the inspection.