The Madras High Court has directed the Secretary, State Industries Department, to take stringent measures to arrest illicit quarrying and transportation of minerals. In his guidelines, the official may direct the authorities to lodge private complaints, if a vehicle was involved in the illegal act repeatedly.

Justice D. Hariparanthaman passed the order on a writ petition by one Kanchi Anbudurai seeking a direction to the RDO, Cheyyar, Tiruvannamalai district, to release his lorry which was seized by the Assistant Director of Mines, Tiruvannamalai district on June 4. The allegation was that the vehicle was carrying sand unauthorisedly.

The Judge said such petitions were being filed often before the court and routine orders were passed to release the vehicles. After seizing the vehicles, the authorities did not file private complaints to prosecute those involved in illicit quarrying and transportation of minerals. The enhanced seigniorage fee alone was collected and the lorry and minerals were left off. No private complaint was filed under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act. As there was no stringent action, incidents of illegal quarrying and transportation of minerals was high as disclosed by the District Collector, Tiruvallur, when the court sought certain details.

Hence, Mr. Justice Paranthaman said he was issuing the direction to the Industries Secretary.

As far as the instant case was concerned, the Judge directed the petitioner to make a fresh representation to the RDO, Cheyyar, seeking the release of the lorry.

The official respondent should pass orders on merits and as per law within one week.

He was at liberty to impose any condition for the release of the lorry.

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