Coimbatore

Forest Dept. letter cautioned Collector about illegal mining in Thadagam valley

FOR COIMBATORE: TAMILNADU:07/04/15: Thadagam
கோவை தடாகம்

FOR COIMBATORE: TAMILNADU:07/04/15: Thadagam கோவை தடாகம்   | Photo Credit: photo

It sought action against brick kiln units functioning without permit from government

While the Revenue Department and the Department of Geology and Mining have barely taken any step to prevent uncontrolled mining of red earth in Thadagam valley, the Forest Department had cautioned the district administration earlier this year that the exploitation of natural resource along forest boundaries was one of the reasons for the human-elephant conflict in the valley.

In a letter sent on January 21 this year, the District Forest Officer had also sought the District Collector to take action against brick kiln units that were functioning without permit from the government, and were mining red earth beyond the permissible level.

As per the letter, a copy of which is available with The Hindu, more than 20 brick kilns were functioning without the government permission.

It said that deep pits formed due to red earth mining were obstructing the movement of elephants from one forest to the other and chances were high for elephants to suffer injuries or die after falling into such pits.

The DFO had stated in the letter that the elephants were forced to move through human settlements in Thadagam valley, causing damage to lives and properties, as they were unable to traverse though the sloppy terrains of the forests or the patta and revenue lands adjoining the forest boundary due the presence of mining pits.

DFO D. Venkatesh said that his predecessor had sent the original letter to the Collector on October 10, 2015 and he had merely sent a copy of it on January 21 as a reminder.

Meanwhile, members of a people’s movement against red earth mining in the valley alleged that officials from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) held a ‘secret’ meeting with brick kiln owners on Thursday.

S. Ganesan from Thadagam, who is part of the movement, alleged that the TNPCB officials called on brick kiln owners at their association’s office. He alleged that the officials refused to attend to the grievances of the representatives of the movement, and a few brick kiln owners escorted the officials’ vehicle after the meeting.

According to Mr.Ganesan, mining is also rampant in lands allotted to people under the Bhoodan (land gift) movement of Vinoba Bhave in the valley. Vinoba land, which were given to landless farmers decades ago, should not be used for mining as per norms, he said.

“On Thursday, officials from the Revenue Department and the Department of Geology stopped six trucks transporting red earth mined from Vinoba land from Veerapandi. They released the trucks after collecting ₹ 10,000 each from the owners,” he alleged.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 7:47:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/forest-dept-letter-cautioned-collector-about-illegal-mining-in-thadagam-valley/article29311894.ece

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