After the suspension of Kancheepuram collector, the administrations in districts where rivers run through have intensified the drive against illegal sand mining.
But, the situation appears to be far from being under control with enforcement authorities on the ground facing threats to their lives.
In separate incidents in Tiruchi district, in the early hours of Friday, drivers of two lorries involved in illegal transportation of sand, almost ran over the revenue and police officials on duty. Without heeding the signals of the officials to stop, the truck drivers drove through. Police teams chased the lorries, intercepted and arrested five persons, including the drivers. In the first incident, a team of officials led by Thottiyam tahsildar S. Henry Samidurai was involved in a night-long vehicle check-up. The driver of the sand-laden lorry sped away after coming close to hitting the officials standing on the roadside. A police team gave a hot chase and arrested Palanisamy, lorry driver from Thiruchengode; Murugesan, Sekar and Chandrasekar - all from Thottiyam.One hour later, another sand-laden lorry failed to heed the signal to halt from officials led by Malarkodi, Musiri tahsildar, who were conducting vehicle checks in Neeliyampatti on the Manalmedu-Pavithram Road near Musiri. The lorry driver, Rajesh (27) of Pudupatti in Namakkal district, was arrested by a police team, waiting some distance away.
All the five arrested have been charged with attempt to murder under Section 307 of Indian Penal Code and smuggling sand under the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act. They have been remanded in judicial custody. When contacted, Tiruchi Collector Jayashree Muralidharan said that night raids have been stepped up to prevent illicit sand mining. In Thanjavur, police arrested two persons who attacked Nedunchezhiyan, a sub-inspector, when he stopped a mini-lorry carrying sand illegally at Neikunnam village near Ammapettai on Saturday. M. Ayyampillai, the driver, and two more persons – Sadasivam and Chidambaram – tried to attack the sub-inspector with sickle when he stopped the vehicle. Police arrested Ayyampillai and Sadasivam.