Tamil Nadu

Plea to stop sand mining by private parties in waterbody

A public interest litigation petition was filed before the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday seeking directions against private parties mining sand at Kanoor tank in Sivaganga district in the guise of removing savadu (brick earth) sand.

Taking up the petition for hearing, a division bench of Justices M. Venugopal and Abdul Quddhose directed notice to the Director, Department of Geology and Mining, Sivaganga Collector and other officers.

The petitioner, P. Gayathri of Sivaganga, said permission was given only to excavate ‘savadu’ sand. However, every day more than 1,000 lorries transported sand excavated from the tank and adjacent lands. Sand had been excavated to a depth of up to 25 feet, said the petitioner.

The private party had obtained licence from the Collector to excavate only ‘savadu’ for a period of six months. The illegal quarrying had weakened the structure of the tank, the petitioner said. A road had also been laid to a width of 20 feet to transport sand in lorries without permission under the Tamil Nadu Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 1959.

The petitioner said Kanoor tank was the main source of irrigation of agricultural lands in nearby villages. The villages also used the tank for drawing drinking water. But now the villages were facing scarcity of water and agricultural activities had also been hit. The groundwater table was facing depletion, said the petitioner.

A representation was sent to the authorities to take necessary action to check the illegal sand quarrying. However, no action had been taken so far. The authorities, under Section 21 and 22 of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, could initiate action against the erring parties.

The Collector, under Rule 36-A of the Tamil Nadu Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 1959, had powers to initiate action against the wrongdoers, contended the petitioner.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 11:21:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/plea-to-stop-sand-mining-by-private-parties-in-waterbody-hc-madurai/article19999049.ece

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