Tamil Nadu

Villagers protest against ‘illegal sand mining’

Hundreds of residents of coastal Vedalai panchayat thronged the Collectorate here on Monday and staged a ‘sit-in dharna’, protesting against ‘illegal sand mining’ on the pretext of desilting an oorani (waterbody) in the village.

Led by S. Sadasivam, president of ‘Makkal Nala Koottamaippu’, a large number of men and women staged the protest, urging Collector S. Natarajan to withdraw the order issued for desilting the waterbody and prevent illegal sand mining. Later, the village leaders, accompanied by BJP district president K. Muraleedharan and Hindu Munnani district president Ramamurthy, presented a petition to the Collector.

Stating that the oorani was located less than a km away from the coast, Mr. Sadasivam said the village panchayat had been maintaining it all these years and fetching water from it to meet its drinking water needs without any problem. There was no need for desilting the waterbody now, he said.

The villagers were opposed to deepening of the waterbody as it would lead to ingression of seawater. Though the village panchayat was located close to the coastline, the groundwater was potable and indiscriminate removal of sand in the area would spoil the groundwater and pollute the water in the four common wells, he said.

The private contractor who got permission to desilt the oorani tried to remove sand from the cremation ground situated close by and near the ancient Vinayaga Temple. The villagers were already facing problems because of existence of shrimp farms along the southern coastline, he said.

After presenting a memorandum to the Collector on January 10, the villagers had observed a fast on February 13, urging the district administration to stop the desilting work, he said.

If they failed to get relief now, they would have no option but to surrender their ration cards and vacate the village, he said.

The Collector said he would ask the Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) to enquire into the issue and take necessary action.

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Printable version | Oct 29, 2020 10:54:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/villagers-protest-against-illegal-sand-mining-ramanathapuram/article22799368.ece

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