Tamil Nadu: 3 village panchayats oppose illegal sand mining in Rameswaram

Rameswaram: Alleging illegal sand mining in three panchayats near Sathankonvalasai in Tamil Nadu, residents of the panchayats and members of Natural Resources Protection Committee have urged the district administration and mines department to cancel the permits which were ‘misused’ for illegal sand mining.

Residents of Nochioorani, Sathankonvalasai and Vedalai panchayats in their joint petition to the authorities alleged that permits given for quarrying ‘savudu’ earth — a type of soil — were grossly misused to illegally quarry sand. Trucks blatantly transported sand from the sites but the officials turned a blind eye to it, they alleged.

The illegal sand quarrying could not be stopped despite repeated petitions to the officials in the departments of revenue and mines, they said and sought the intervention of collector K Veera Raghava Rao.

He said people of the three panchayats eked out a living by cultivating jasmine and other crops, using potable water in the areas and the indiscriminate quarrying of ‘savudu’ earth and sand posed serious threats to groundwater table. The potable water available in the villages would soon turn saline if the quarrying was not stopped immediately, he said.

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