Several combined drinking water schemes being implemented in various districts of Tamil Nadu will be severely affected if indiscriminate sand quarrying on riverbeds are allowed, warned senior communist leader R. Nallakannu on Tuesday.

Mr. Nallakannu, who is in the forefront in the movement against the illegal activity, said effective monitoring of sand quarrying by the State government's is crucial in ensuring that the ground water table is not depleted beyond redemption. “Let the government constitute village-level committees to monitor the situation. They can effectively check illegal sand quarrying.”

He had argued before the Madurai Bench of the High Court in the Tamiraparani case.

“The areas around the Nambiyar in Tirunelveli district are dry and they benefit only from the occasional rainfall. The sand in the river retains the water and recharges the ground water table. When the sand is removed till the clay soil layer, it will not charge ground water,” he warned.

Though there was a clear direction that sand should be mined only 500 metres from the river bed and quarrying allowed between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., nobody followed the rules.

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