Environmental clearance for 11 more sand quarries

A row of trucks at a sand quarry on the banks of the Coleroon in Ariyur near Lalgudi on Thursday.— Photo: R. Ashok  

The State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) has granted environment clearance for 11 more sand quarries in the Cauvery-Coleroon river basin.

A few days ago, the SEIAA had granted clearance for 10 new sand quarries in Tiruchi, Karur, Ariyalur, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur and Namakkal districts.

In the second batch of clearance, 11 quarries have been approved, sources told The Hindu on Friday.

The Public Works Department had filed applications seeking environmental clearance for 44 new sand quarries after the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, in August this year, ordered closure of sand quarries that were more than five years old. The Bench had made environmental clearance mandatory for mining sand.

Following the High Court order, 27 sand quarries were closed across the State, triggering a shortage and steep rise in the price of sand in several parts of the State.

The new quarries will start functioning after obtaining approvals from the respective District Collectors and certification of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board.

The environmental clearance will be valid for a period of five years.

Public Works Department sources in Tiruchi said seven new quarries in Tiruchi, Karur and Ariyalur districts, cleared under the first batch, were expected to become functional in 10 days after obtaining the necessary approval.

The opening of the new quarries is expected to ease the heavy rush of lorries to the sand quarries in Tiruchi district in the wake of the closure of all the quarries in neighbouring Karur district and also stabilise the price of sand gradually.