Finance and Public Works Minister O. Panneerselvam said 26 river sand quarries were now in operation with 34 stock yards in different districts.

Prices of river sand are under control, Finance and Public Works Minister O. Panneerselvam told the Assembly on Tuesday. Intervening in the debate on the State budget, the Minister said 26 river sand quarries were now in operation with 34 stock yards in different districts. It was from the stock yards that river sand was being made available to people through second sales.

He was responding to observations of K. Balakrishnan (Communist Party of India -Marxist) and A. Aslam Basha (Manithaneya Makkal Katchi) on the issue. The Minister explained the position that the clearance of the State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) now had to be taken before setting up quarries.

Mr. Balakrishnan said applications of the Public Works Department for opening quarries in Chidambaram and Cuddalore were still pending. When Mr. Aslam Basha spoke of difficulties in getting river sand in Vellore district, Mr. Panneerselvam rejected his claim.

Earlier, V.C. Chandhirakumar of the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) said that during the 2011 Assembly elections, when his party was part of a front led by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), Jayalalithaa, AIADMK general secretary and Chief Minister, did not campaign in the Assembly constituencies where the DMDK contested. Mr. Panneerselvam replied that in each district, she had addressed a couple of election rallies and sought votes for nominees of other parties in the front. In rallies she participated, the DMDK candidates shared the platform with her. The Finance Minister added that the central point at the time of the Assembly polls was that everyone in the front had campaigned to make Ms. Jayalalithaa Chief Minister.

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