The Tamilaga Vivsayigal and Thozhilalargal Munnetra Iyakkam has appealed to the State government to ban sand quarrying totally between June and January and during the monsoon seasons. During other periods, only dry sand should be quarried, that too only through local panchayats, it pleaded.
In a statement, Marudur M. Shanmugham, founder of the farmer association, said it was because of indiscriminate sand quarrying that the Cauvery had virtually been ravaged.
He alleged that both the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam governments had been spoiling the “sacredness of the Cauvery and also delta agriculture” for the past 12 years by deploying giant machinery for quarrying. This is despite a rule that sand quarrying should not be done in rivers which are perennial, he said. The sand so quarried is being transported to various other States as well. Such a quarrying has resulted in depletion of groundwater.
For drinking water schemes, these governments have not been tapping the flowing water but sinking giant borewells where there is a major aquifer. The fountain from such water sources goes dry only because the wet sand is being quarried, he alleged. But this is done under the garb of “drinking water”.
Mr. Shanmugham said that since the days of Congress governments, Tamil Nadu used to demand water from Karnataka from April itself for the delta. “We use to give Karnataka bus chassis and electricity in exchange and through talks we got water. Former Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran personally spoke to Karnataka and got water. Since 1998, none of the governments had bothered to demand water from April.
By sand quarrying, public welfare, environment and law and order are affected, he alleged. As there had been poor rains, pests that cause harm to agriculture got a boost, he lamented.