Tamil Nadu

Efforts on to prevent illegal sand mining along Palar river

Termed ‘hot spots’, the areas are mainly small villages located between the river and the arterial road in the two taluks — Ambur and Vaniyambadi. C. VENKATACHALAPATHY  

The Tirupattur district administration is taking all out efforts to prevent illegal sand mining along the dry Palar river bed.

With limited Revenue Department staff, the district administration has identified 16 areas between Ambur and Vaniyambadi, a distance of 18 km, along the Palar river where illegal sand mining was being reported regularly.

Termed as ‘hot spots’, these identified areas are mainly small villages located between the river and the arterial road in the two taluks — Ambur and Vaniyambadi.

Some of the key villages that are being used to reach the river bed include Somalapuram, Thennambattu, Komeshwaram, Minur, Karapattu and Bairapalli in Ambur taluk, and Bheemakulam, Kolapalli and Mallangunda in Vaniyambadi taluk.

“We also have identified three major routes in these two taluks where illegal sand mining is reported. More police check-posts and CCTV cameras are being set up in these routes,” Amar Kushwaha, District Collector, Tirupattur, told The Hindu.

As part of the crackdown, around 20 cases have been booked for illegal sand mining in the district since June. Further, a control room for each taluk has also been set up to get alerts from residents and social activists. These recorded alerts are being monitored by the Sub-Collector on a daily basis. These helpline numbers are: 04179 220091 (Tirupattur), 04179 242499 (Natrampallai), 04174 232184 (Vaniyambadi) and 04174 244255 (Ambur).

Tirupattur, Natrampalli, Ambur and Vaniyambadi share nearly 60% of the total water pipelines laid under the Hogenakkal Drinking Water Scheme from Palar river a decade ago.

Damage to pipelines

The pipelines supply excess Cauvery river from Hogenakkal in Dharmapuri district to water-starved districts like Vellore, Tirupattur and Krishnagiri. Residents in these two taluks (Ambur and Vaniyambadi) fear that such illegal sand mining might damage the pipelines in the river.

At present, each taluk in the newly formed Tirupattur district has 40 revenue officials including two tahsildars, five revenue inspectors and 30 Village Administrative Officers (VAOs). Tirupattur, Ambur and Vaniyambadi taluks have 91 villages, most of them located along the river.

On an average, a team of seven revenue officials and police are needed for such surveillance, especially during night. However, district officials said that most of the routine revenue works including patta transfers and issuing various government certificates were delayed since last year due to the pandemic. In fact, more than 20,000 petitions for patta transfers were pending in the district as revenue officials had no time to conduct field surveys, sources said.

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 9:55:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/efforts-on-to-prevent-illegal-sand-mining-along-palar-river/article35660037.ece

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