Inspection of 9 quarries in Kanyakumari district from Friday

Second round of inspection of mineral sand quarries in nine coastal villages in the district began on Thursday.

Terming ‘super check’ the fresh round of inspection, Revenue Secretary Gagandeep Singh Bedi, who leads 12 teams, said the two-day exercise would be completed in the district on Friday. “At the same time, inspection in nine quarries in Kanyakumrai district will be conducted on Friday and Saturday,” said Mr. Bedi, who visited the sites along with Collector M. Karunakaran and Sub-Collector of Cheranmahadevi Rohini Ramdas after holding preliminary discussions with them in the Collectorate on Thursday morning.

Mr. Bedi and his team inspected the quarry at Thoppuvilai and then at Kooduthaazhai where their way had been blocked with thorny acacia plants. The team could proceed only after the revenue and the police personnel removed the hindrance. They also saw and recorded the rocky road formed near the Kooduthaazhai beach with boulders.

When a group of fishermen from coastal village Uvari were getting ready to submit a petition to Mr. Bedi, police prevented them and asked them to meet him after the end of the day’s inspection at Tirunelveli.

“Since beach sand in large quantity has been mined from the unauthorised areas near Our Lady of Velankanni grotto and the fishermen colony of Uvari, the team should also inspect these areas,” said S.V. Antony, former panchayat president of Uvari.

After Chief Minister Jayalalithaa announced that Mr. Bedi-led teams would inspect the quarries to ascertain the alleged violations in mining of mineral sand, 15 teams, comprising 128 officials drawn from other districts, inspected 52 quarries at 25 different locations between October 17 and 19. Each team consisted of officials from the departments of revenue, mines and minerals, pollution control board and a surveyor.

During the first phase of inspection, the teams visited quarries under Kuttam, Karaichuthu Uvari, Karaichuthu Pudur, Levingipuram, Irrukkanthurai, Chettikulam, Kudankulam, Vijayapathi and Thiruvambalapuram village panchayats. After preparing his report based on the information he gathered during the first round of inspection, Mr. Bedi left for Chennai with the promise that there would be one more round of inspection, the ‘Super Check’ in the same areas by newly formed teams to corroborate the findings of the first inspection.

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