Sand quarrying near Kallanai suspended

Workers employed for sand extraction did not have adequate knowledge on the impact of quarrying near Kallanai and the public were also kept in the dark, say activists

January 05, 2023 07:28 pm | Updated January 06, 2023 08:02 am IST - TIRUCHI

A view of the sand quarry near Kilikoodu  in Tiruchi.

A view of the sand quarry near Kilikoodu in Tiruchi. | Photo Credit: M. Srinath

A day after the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court granted an interim injunction, restraining sand quarrying near Kallanai, (Grand Anicut), the Water Resources Department (WRD) (sand mining) suspended the quarrying operation in Kilikoodu in Tiruchi district and Koviladi in Thanjavur district on Thursday.

No outsiders were allowed to go near the quarry site at Kilikoodu by the ‘personnel’ employed by the private company, which carries out the task of extracting and transporting sand from the quarry to the neighbouring yard. However, it is said that the operation was suspended since 6 a.m. on Thursday. But, machinery used to extract sand, continued to be parked near the quarry. Similarly, a large number tipper lorries were seen near the yard.

While welcoming the High Court order, V. Jeevakumar, a farmer of Boothalur near Kallanai, said that both Koviladi and Kilikoodu were very close to Kallanai. The workers employed for the sand extraction did not have adequate knowledge on the possible impact of collecting sand near Kallanai. Also, the public were kept in the dark over the quantum of sand extracted since the opening of quarries.

“We do not know how the WRD officials chose to allow quarrying near the historic Kallanai. The impact of quarrying should be studied immediately,” Mr. Jeevakumar says. He said that except for the lorry and truck drivers, it was not easy for outsiders and environmentalists to gain access to the quarry site.

R. S. Mugilan of the Cauvery Protection Movement said that an Advocate Commissioner appointed by the High Court visited Kilikoodu in 2017 and documented indiscriminate sand mining activities. Quarrying should not have been permitted near Kallanai, he charged.

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