Lauding the recent decision by the State Government to ban illegal sand and mineral mining in the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu, especially from Thoothukudi to Kanyakumari, the Save Tamils Movement conducted a conference here, asking the State Government to consider various other demands. These included action against the mineral factory owners who have been engaging in such illegal activities.
According to them, the illegal mineral mining in the last 20 years that happened in broad daylight has completely destroyed the ecological balance in the coastal regions. The mining had not only ruined the flora and fauna in the coastal regions but also threatened the living of human beings.
“The money and lives swindled in this scam is nearly ` 10 lakh crore. This mineral separated in this mining has never been used for our country; it is exported to foreign countries ultimately giving no benefit to us. All we had was to lose,” said R R Srinivasan, member of Poovulagin Nanbargal, an environmental movement.
One of the important minerals that were being mined is Monosite, a mineral used to extract thorium, which has radioactive properties and the people were not given enough protection to such radiations leading to diseases like cancer, kidney stone etc. The activity had been rampant in the last 10 years and nearly 22 mineral factories were operating across the coastal regions between Kanyakumari and Thoothukudi.
“It is heartening that the government has banned activities and arranged a special committee to probe the issue, but it is important that they must be fair. The government should file a FIR on the owners of these mineral factories and take severe action against them. Action must also be taken against Government officials, who allegedly colluded with these owners,” said Prabakaran, a social activist.
They also demanded that the government should provide compensation to the local community that has been affected by such inhuman activity. They also said that the government should take measures to restore the ecological balance in these regions.