Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi has ordered a ban on mechanised sand mining in the Palar and Tamiraparani rivers.

Mr. Karunanidhi ordered the ban after a detailed review of works of the Public Works Department at the Secretariat on Thursday. He was informed of the large-scale and unsustainable sand mining in these rivers. He permitted sand mining in the Kollidam since there are large reserves of sand.

The Chief Minister, who reviewed the progress of major construction works in the State, including the new Secretariat, wanted the PWD to source cement from outside the State given the high rates prevailing here.

He was apprised in detail of the progress of the river inter-linking work and wanted the pilot project speeded up. The State government had, in late 2008, issued an order clearing the execution of the Rs.369-crore project to link the Tamiraparani with Karumeniyar and Nambiyar rivers in 72 packages in four stages.

The project envisages utilisation of 2.8 thousand million cubic feet of excess water of the Tamiraparani, which goes waste. A time frame of three years has been fixed for completing it.

In addition to increasing the carrying capacity of the Kannadian channel, a flood carrier channel will be formed over a distance of about 65 km. This is to divert the excess water of the Tamiraparani to Karumeniyar, Pachayar and Nambiyar.

The Chief Minister also enquired about the progress of works in installing a barrage in place of bed regulator across the Cauvery at Mayanur at a cost of Rs.165 crore.