The Madras High Court on Thursday declined to order a fresh probe into alleged illegal mining of beach sand in southern districts of the State.
Passing orders on a batch of petitions which sought various reliefs including an enquiry, the Bench comprising Justices M.Jaichandren and M.Venugopal pointed out that the State government already constituted a special team under Revenue Secretary, Gagandeep Singh Bedi, to inspect and verify the alleged illicit mining activities being carried on in the various mining areas. It had also been stated that the special team would complete the task within five months.
Noting that it would be premature to come to a conclusion at this stage, the Bench said, “We do not find it appropriate to direct further investigation with regard to the alleged illegal mining activities, said to be carried on by the lessees.”
Between 2007 and 2012, the Federation of Indian Placer Mineral Industries, and Indian Garnet Sand Co, represented by its chairman and managing director D.Dhaya Devadas and others, filed petitions in the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court seeking to order an enquiry into illegal beach sand mining by S.Vaikundarajan’s V.V.Minerals and other companies. They also prayed the court to take further action on the basis of the enquiry, prosecute and punish the guilty.
The petitioners said though they submitted representations to the authorities, there was no action against the violators.
However, V.V. Minerals and other firms said the mining activities had been carried on by the lessees only in accordance with the rules and regulations applicable to such mining leases, and as per the terms and conditions of the lease deeds. The Bench observed, “We are convinced that the Government is taking serious action to curb the illicit mining activities, if any, in the coastal and other areas. Only after the special team submits its report such acts, if any, would come to light.”
The Judges gave the liberty to the petitioners to approach the special team constituted by the government with all relevant materials.
It would be left to the committee concerned to check and verify such claims and file its report before the State government, added the Judges.