Madurai

‘Sand mining rampant near Athur’

(Top) Illegal sand mining under way on the Kudaganar riverbed at Athur in Dindigul district on Wednesday; (above) a tipper lorry being loaded with sand.

(Top) Illegal sand mining under way on the Kudaganar riverbed at Athur in Dindigul district on Wednesday; (above) a tipper lorry being loaded with sand.  

Farmers allege involvement of some government officials

A large group of farmers from Athur union have appealed to the Collector to intervene and stop rampant illegal sand mining carried out by a gang in the area.

The activity has led to dwindling watertables along the Kodaganar riverbed, they say.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, the farmers said water bodies were being rejuvenated by the State government under the kudimaramathu programme. However, government officials were not keen to take stern action against sand mining gangs.

Despite making specific complaints with locations, there was no tangible action so far, they alleged.

The sandminers sold the sand at exorbitant prices and even named them as sand from Tiruchi riverbed, Karur river bed, Vedasandur stretch and so on. The illegal activity was no longer a secret in the region now.

The ‘looting’ was being carried out day and night with the full support of a few police, mining and PWD officials, they said.

The farmers attributed the drinking water shortage faced by residents in the pocket to theft of sand from approach channels.

Earlier, the sand miners were stealing in bullock carts and two-wheelers. Now, they did it openly by deploying men and material, including tipper lorries and poclain equipment, like an industry. As a result, deep gorges had not only made the water flow difficult, but also too many shallow spots might turn the area into a desert very soon, they contended.

The mining activity stretched from Seevalsaragu panchayat union limits to Veerakkal panchayat.

Pockets, to name a few, such as Adilakshmipuram, Velagoundanpatti and V Koothampatti and Vakkampatti were the most damaged spots by the sand miners.

In one spot, in order to have access to the riverbed, sand miners demolished the wall of the check dam and drove tractors and poclain to the spot.

Some of the private farms were aware of the damages. Although the issue was taken up with Sempatti police, there were no arrests.

Hence, the farmers appealed to Collector M. Vijayalakshmi to take firm action against the illegal sand miners and save the environment and enable farmers to get water for irrigation.

When The Hindu contacted the Dindigul Collector, she said she would take firm action against the illegal sand miners.

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Printable version | Jul 15, 2020 2:02:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/sand-mining-rampant-near-athur/article31918219.ece

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