Tamil Nadu

Villagers oppose operation of stone quarry

Residents of several villages, most of them faremrs, opposed the operation of a rough stone quarry and its crushing units at the foothills of a hillock in Walajah taluk at a public hearing held on Thursday.

Ranipet Collector P. Bhaskarapandian presided over the hearing, which was organised at Walajah by the Ranipet administration and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board.

Tension prevailed as many farmers and the workers of the quarry faced off. A large team of policemen was deployed at the venue.

The quarry, which belongs to M.M. Aravindaraj, has been in operation since 1996, covering one hectare. Dust and noise pollution remains the major concern for the residents of the surrounding villages.

“The dust sent out by the quarry has made our farmland useless. We do not know anything other than farming,” said A. Arumugam, 60, a farmer of Anandalai.

Similar concerns were raised by farmers at the meeting, which was held after many years. Anandalai, Pudupettai, Sankara Mottur, Tharakuppam, Edakuppam, Valluvambakkam, Chegkadu Mottur, Musuri, Kadappathangal, Pothigai Nagar and Anathalai are the most affected villages.

Paddy cultivation and cattle-rearing are the major source of livelihood in these villages.

Farmers also cultivate green chilli, brinjal, groundnuts and mango to supplement their income from paddy. “We do not have a government school in our village. Our children have to travel to Walajah. We need more government facilities than crushing units and quarries,” said A. Manikandan, a young farmer from Ayilam.

Ponds, wells polluted

Over the years, the dust from the stone-crushing units and the quarry has polluted ponds and farm-wells. Villagers said regular blasts at the quarry had resulted in cracks at many houses. As most of these blasts were done before sunrise, senior citizens and children were the most affected by noise pollution, they said.

The round-the-clock operation of the stone crushing units and the quarry had damaged the roads, making it difficult for farmers to transport their produce and the sick to be taken to hospitals.

The employees defended the operation of the quarry saying it gave them their livelihood.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 1:35:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/villagers-oppose-operation-of-stone-quarry/article37117930.ece

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