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Illegal sand mining caused Rs 5,200 cr loss to govt: PUCL

A fact finding team of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has listed out flagrant violations by sand miners in Palar and Cheyyar basins in Kancheepuram district and recommended a CBI inquiry.

Published: 10th October 2013 07:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th October 2013 07:43 AM   |  A+A-

A fact finding team of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has listed out flagrant violations by sand miners in Palar and Cheyyar basins in Kancheepuram district and recommended a CBI inquiry.

An interim report released in the city on Wednesday said that over 235 lakh units of river sand had been mined over a five year period, 90 percent of which is believed to be illegally quarried, affecting the livelihood of farmers in the area and causing over Rs 5,200 crore loss to the ex-chequer.

The illegal mining in Palar river extends up to 200 hectares as against the permitted 49.07 hectares, it said.

The report also claims that sand mining was permitted in the river bed up to a maximum depth of 0.9 metre while it was found that mining was done upto 7.7 and 9.2 metres in Pazhayaseevaram, Pinayur and Pazhaveri along the Palar river and up to 9-12 metres in the stretch in Cheyyar exposing the clay bed of the river.

Against the norm of maintaining 500 meter minimum distance from water-bearing and other infrastructure, the reports claims that sand had been removed within 3 to 6 meters for depths of 9 metres around 6 river intake wells of the TWAD Board.

“In a directive, the High Court had banned the use of heavy machinery and allowed only manual means for mining activity on the river bed but heavy machinery like poclains and 20-30 tonne trucks were being used to quarry sand in Kavanthandalam in Cheyyar,” said S Sankaralingam, President, PUCL.

Families of the affected villages along the Cheyyar are paid Rs 1,000 by the miners per month, the team found.

In the four day field day and meeting with authorities, the team calculated that a total of 235 lakh units of sand worth Rs 5,875 crores had been quarried over a period of five years. The fact finding team also found various other violations, including cutting of trees and quarrying under the supervision of officials of the Public Works Department.

The PUCL recommended that the government must order a CBI inquiry, seize all stocks of river sand at stockyards, initiate action against those involved in illegal mining, including government officials.



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