The Tamil Nadu government will take steps to curb granite quarrying activities near hills which have heritage monuments, said State Mines Minister K. Ponmudy here on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters, he said that following media reports that quarrying was under way at Tiruvadavur in Madurai district, where Sangam age Tamil – Brahmi inscriptions were facing destruction in the hills, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi had ordered a review.

The inscriptions belonged to 2nd century B.C. and talked about how Aridhan of Pangadu village and Upasan had sculpted the beds on the cave floor. Iravatham Mahadevan, a renowned scholar on Tamil - Brahmi and Indus scripts, had deciphered the two inscriptions in 1996.

A task force comprising the Tamil Nadu Director of Geology and Mines, Deputy Director, Geology and Mines, and Deputy Superintendent, Archaeology Department, was formed. It visited the spot and submitted a report.

Subsequently, mining activities in Tiruvadavur region were stopped following an order issued to this effect by the government, Dr. Ponmudy said.

However, the contractors who had bid for the licence to quarry at Tiruvadavur had approached the High Court and obtained an interim stay. Steps were now being taken to vacate the interim stay, he said and added that the Act (under the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department) would soon be amended by the State government in such a manner that quarrying activities would be banned up to a distance of 300 metres near ancient monuments. The Chief Minister had categorically ordered to preserve and protect the historic monuments from being destroyed.