Planned by CPI in Tirunelveli, Tuticorin

Communist Party of India (CPI), which has moved the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court against rampant sand mining in the Tamirabharani, has planned to conduct ‘Save Tamirabharani' awareness campaign in Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts for protecting the perennial river from being plundered by the sand mafia.

Speaking to reporters here on Sunday, veteran CPI leader R. Nallakannu said the party was forced to approach the court after sand mining was carried out in unchecked fashion at Thirumalaikozhunthupuram, Thozhappanpannai, Appankovil, Mukkaani and some other places, where all mining norms like quarrying only up to 1 metre, carrying out mining activities 500 metres beyond drinking water infiltration wells etc., had been violated.

Moreover, to facilitate the movement of trucks to take the sand from the riverbed, roads were laid across the Tamirabharani that polluted the water.

“After hearing the case, the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court granted interim stay for sand quarrying in some places of the Tamirabharani. We hope that the court will give its final verdict on October 27, which will save the river from the mafia,” said Mr. Nallakannu.

Even as waiting for the judgment, the CPI has planned to conduct campaign to create awareness among the public on the need for protecting the Tamirabharani from being ‘systematically murdered' by a group of people for their welfare. In this connection, two awareness campaign teams - one from Papanasam and another one from Authoor in Tuticorin district – will start the ‘crusade' simultaneously on November 9.

“While CPI Tirunelveli district secretary R. Shanmugavel will flag off and lead the campaign starting from Papanasam, where the perennial river from the Western Ghats touches the ground, Tuticorin district secretary A. Mohan Raj will lead the movement from Authoor. On culminating at Palayamkottai in the evening, a public meeting will be organised at Jawahar Grounds in the evening, in which the CPI State secretary D. Pandian will address,” Mr. Nallakannu said.

While welcoming the government's decision not to use earthmovers for taking sand from Tamirabharani and Palar riverbeds, the leader said this ban should be extended to all 31 riverbeds in the State so that the groundwater table in these regions could be protected.

He warned that the government's plan to give 1.5 crore litres of water a day to a Tuticorin-based factory by laying huge pipes from a point before Srivaikuntam dam would destroy farming activities in this region.

Instead, the factory could be given water from Mukkaani, Mr. Nallakannu suggested.