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Granite quarrying near monuments to be curbed

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SPOT study: Mines Minister K. Ponmudy inspecting a hill near Tiruvadavur in Madurai district
SPOT study: Mines Minister K. Ponmudy inspecting a hill near Tiruvadavur in Madurai district

Special Correspondent

MADURAI: The State government will curb granite quarrying near hills with heritage monuments, said Mines Minister K. Ponmudy here on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters, he said that following reports that quarrying was going on at Idayapatti near Tiruvadavur, where Sangam age Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions were facing destruction, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi had ordered an enquiry.

The inscriptions belonged to 2nd century B.C. and talked about how Aridhan of Pangadu village and Upasan had sculpted the beds on the cave floor. Iravatham Mahadevan, a renowned scholar on Tamil-Brahmi and Indus scripts, had deciphered the two inscriptions in 1996.

A task force, comprising Tamil Nadu Director Geology and Mines, Deputy Director Geology and Mines and Deputy Superintendent Archaeology Department, was formed. It visited the spot and submitted their report.

Subsequently, mining activities were stopped following a government order. However, the contractors obtained an interim stay from the High Court. Steps were being taken to vacate this.

The Act (under the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department) would be amended so that quarrying activities would be banned up to a distance of 300 metres near monuments. Accompanied by Collector N. Mathivanan and Deputy Director of Geology and Mines J. Rajaram among others, Dr. Ponmudy inspected the spot at Tiruvadavur and held discussions with officials from the Department of Mines and Geology. He visited the site and also the boundaries where the mining was in progress.

Quarrying had progressed so deep that the site looked like an open cast mine, villagers said.

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