Move to extend permission for sand mining on Cauvery opposed

Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam members staging a demonstration in front of Tiruchi Collectorate on Friday.

Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam members staging a demonstration in front of Tiruchi Collectorate on Friday.   | Photo Credit: M. Moorthy

The Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, affiliated to the Communist Party of India, has strongly opposed the recommendation of the Expert Appraisal Committee of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for granting a three-year extension of the Environmental Clearance (EC) given to the Tamil Nadu Public Works Department for mining sand from the Cauvery bed in Tiruchi and Karur districts.

Members of the association staged a protest against the recommendation in front of the Collector’s Office in the city on Friday ahead of the farmers grievances meeting. Later, a delegation of the association, led by T. Indrajith, State Executive Committee Member, CPI, and Ayila Siva.Suriyan, district secretary, Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, presented a representation to Collector S. Sivarasu at the meeting demanding a ban on sand mining on Cauvery and Kollidam rivers.

In May 2015, the Public Works Department was given the EC for the project with a validity of three years. The project involves mining more than 30 lakh cubic metres of river sand in the upstream and downstream areas of the Kattalai Bed Regulator on the Cauvery.

The Department approached the Committee for an extension citing its inability to mine the requisite quantity of sand “due to flow in the river and storage of water in the newly constructed barrage.”

Claiming that indiscriminate sand mining on the Cauvery and Kollidam rivers over the past 10 years has caused severe depletion of groundwater table and affected water sources of drinking water schemes located on the riverbeds, the Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam urged the government to reject the recommendation of the Expert Appraisal Committee.

The association alleged that sand was mined for a depth of up to 30 metres in violation of the stipulation that mining should be restricted to three metres. It also alleged that the partial collapse of the regulator across Kollidam at Mukkombu was triggered by sand mining in its vicinity.

“There is water flow in Cauvery for only four to six months in a year. During the rest of the period we have to depend on the groundwater. Sand mining has severely depleted the water table,” Mr. Siva.Suriyan charged and said the recommendation of the committee has come as a shock to farmers. The government should ban sand mining on the two rivers, he demanded.

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Printable version | Jul 10, 2020 1:27:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/move-to-extend-permission-for-sand-mining-on-cauvery-opposed/article29533776.ece

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