Madurai

Illegal granite quarrying issue raked up at meeting

Farmers having a heated argument at the grievance day meeting at the Madurai Collectorate on Friday. Photo: S. James

Farmers having a heated argument at the grievance day meeting at the Madurai Collectorate on Friday. Photo: S. James   | Photo Credit: S_James

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Farmers say stones and gravel have choked waterbodies

Chaos prevailed at the monthly farmers’ grievance day meeting at the Collectorate here on Friday when one of the participants raked up the issue of granite quarries having destroyed waterbodies.

N. Palanichamy, president of the Madurai District Sugarcane Farmers’ Association, said the storage capacity of waterbodies in and around Melur had been choked with stones and gravel from the mines.

The farmer said he had submitted a petition at a grievance day meeting in June that illegal quarrying activities had damaged water tanks and channels in Melur, Keezhayur and Keezhavalavu. But the authorities did not take action to restore the waterbodies, he claimed.

His charge triggered a verbal altercation among the participants after a farmer asked him whether he had evidence that illegal quarrying activities took place in the said areas.

After the farmers were pacified, Collector L. Subramanian said issues concerning granite quarrying were under the purview of various courts and that the district administration was also looking into the matter. “We are taking steps on complaints of illegal quarrying and the damage it caused. These grievance meetings are held to discuss a problem, not to create one,” he said.

Mr. Subramanian asked the Public Works Department officials as to why no action was taken to restore the damaged waterbodies. The officials replied that they could not take any action since there were 11 quarrying cases pending in the Judicial Magistrate Court in Melur. The Collector asked them to ascertain the damage and start working on proposals to rectify the same.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 4:35:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/illegal-granite-quarrying-issue-raked-up-at-meeting/article6227647.ece

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