“The livelihood of a large number of people depended on the mining operations’’
The second round of inspection of beach sand mining areas began along the coast of Tuticorin district on Monday.
Revenue Secretary Gagandeep Singh Bedi, who led a team of officials, told reporters that he would do a random scrutiny of the places inspected. The special teams were constituted by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to check whether mining operations were executed in leased area illegally.
Accompanied by District Collector M. Ravikumar, the Revenue Secretary, along with special teams comprising high-ranking officials from other districts, inspected beach areas at six locations, including Vaipar and Vembar in Vilathikulam taluk; Padukkapathu and Periyathaalai in Sathankulam taluk and in Tiruchendur taluk – Manapad and Madhavanakurichi.
The first round of inspections commenced on August 12 and concluded on August 14. The teams interacted with coastal populace during the inspection.
At Tuticorin Collectorate, the DMDK cadre staged a protest, seeking a ban on illegal beach mining and a CBI probe into the mining scam along the coastal areas.
Members of the Tuticorin District Coastal Public Association, in a petition to the Collector, said that the livelihood of a large number of people depended on the mining operations. The government had been providing many welfare measures for the fishermen but there were no such measures for quarry workers
A group of fishermen from some coastal hamlets in Tirunelveli district submitted a petition to District Collector C. Samayamoorthy, seeking action against those who were creating unrest in the guise of opposing illicit garnet mining. The petition referred to business rivalry between two companies involved in garnet mining in the area.
Another petition was submitted by Fishermen Liberation Movement to the Collector, saying that the illicit garnet mining in the permitted and non-permitted zones in the coastal areas and the effluents discharged into the sea after processing the garnet had badly affected the fishermen and their livelihood. The Collector should inspect the affected areas in Tirunelveli district.