Tamil Nadu

Sand mining: Govt. told to take action

Plea alleges contractors exploiting riverbeds by indiscriminate quarrying in State

The Madras High Court has disposed of a public interest litigation (PIL) petition seeking a direction to the State government to ban sand quarrying in the State and to mandate use of M-sand (manufactured sand) as an alternative to river sand in construction activities.

The First Bench of Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G. Ramesh and R. Mahadevan directed the State government to take action on the representation made by the petitioner in accordance with law. According to the petitioner, M. Appavu, a former MLA, there are about 18,789 waterbodies across the State, including lakes, ponds and reservoirs all under the control of the Public Works Department (PWD). This apart, another 20,413 water bodies are under the control of Panchayat Unions.

Since many schools, colleges, hospitals, courts, bus depots, and Tamil Nadu Housing Board had been developed over 1,000 of such waterbodies across the State, the water storage capacity level of 390 thousand million cubic (TMC) feet had been gradually reduced to 200 TMC, the petitioner said.

Attributing the situation to illegal sand quarrying in the water bodies across the State, the petitioner submitted that pursuant to a recommendation by a high-level committee to regulate sand quarrying, the State government issued a Government Order dated October 1, 2003 making the then existing licences ineffective and restricted the licences. He alleged that despite the restrictions, private contractors were exploiting the riverbed.

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Printable version | Jun 30, 2020 5:07:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/sand-mining-govt-told-to-take-action/article17396738.ece

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