Illegal sand mining on the riverbed of Vaipar near Ettayapuram is continuing unabated.
Though the unlawful activity has been going on for years, stringent measures have not been taken, according to S. Kumaran, secretary, Communist Party of India, Ettayapuram Town Committee.
In spite of rules against sand mining apart from permitted quarries, such activities were being overlooked. Not only the people of the area were involved in such incidents but also people from other districts, he said.
Sand mining was executed 30 feet deep in the earth, which is deemed as breach of norms by legal bodies. Sand mining was permitted only up to three feet depth in land. Recently, 10 lorries were seized during illegal sand mining near Vaipar. Subsequently, the seized vehicles were surrendered to Tahsildar of Ettayapuram.
However, seven of the 10 vehicles seized were released immediately. It was not correct on the part of the authorities concerned. Explanation was required from those who were responsible for the release of the vehicles, he said. He added that protests would be staged unless clear information on these criminal activities was revealed. When asked, C. Subbhaiyan, Tahsildar, Ettayapuram, said the charges levelled against the authorities were incorrect and baseless. The drivers of the three vehicles, which had been seized, did not carry proper documents for transporting sand. But other vehicle drivers had the necessary documents.
All 10 vehicles transported sand only from a legally permitted quarry at Nambipuram under Ettayapuram taluk. If they had produced valid documents, their vehicles would also have been released, he said.
The authorities concerned had been alerted to check any illegal transport of sand. Vehicle checks at the entrance of Masaarpatti, Ettayapuram and Naalaattinputhur were being carried out to prevent any such acts. “The incidence of illegal sand mining has come down drastically now. The seized vehicles will be taken to the Revenue Divisional Officer concerned for further action,” Mr. Subbhaiyan said.
The Assistant Director of Mines, in response to a query, said that there was no report of such activities.