The Tamil Nadu Government has posted John Louis as Special Officer, in the rank of District Revenue Officer, to oversee the survey and assessment of granite quarries, now under way, in Madurai district.
District Collector Anshul Mishra, who is heading the revenue team in inspecting the quarries and monitoring the progress on a daily basis, said on Tuesday that Mr. Louis, who was earlier serving in Villupuram district, would primarily oversee the surveys being carried out in the granite quarries and the assessments being made by the team members.
After the irregularities in granite quarries were reported a month ago, the district administration had inspected 175 quarries with the help of 18 teams, comprising senior officials from Revenue, Survey and other departments.
The inspection, which is on for three weeks, has unearthed several irregularities in the mining process. The granite quarry operators have encroached on patta lands; indulged in large-scale suppression of facts and even destroyed waterbodies. Villages close to Melur, particularly Keelaiyur, Keelavalavu and Tiruvadavur, are facing the adverse impact of the quarries for nearly two decades, officials say.
The Madurai district police have registered over 20 cases and arrested 45 persons so far in this connection under charges of several criminal offences. Among those arrested, PRP Granite and Exports partner P. R. Palanichamy and three TAMIN officers are detained in Palayamkottai and Madurai Central prisons.
The police are interrogating an officer in the rank of Deputy Director (Mines and Minerals) Rajaram, who is said to be accountable for causing revenue loss to the exchequer by conniving with some erring granite operators. He had served in Madurai between 2006 and 2011. For a brief period, he was placed under suspension last year and recently had taken charge as DD (Mines) Nagercoil, Kanyakumari district.