CHENNAI: Less than a week after Express exposed how a contractor involved in restoring Pallavaram and Keelkattalai lakes has been syphoning of the earth for a highway expansion project nearby, officials from the Department of Geology and Mining seized the machinery and lorries being used to mine soil in the water bodies on Thursday evening.
According to Perumal Raja, Additional director of mines, Kancheepuram district, four earth movers and seven lorries were seized from the two lakes.“Soil from lakes cannot be transported outside for any purpose without applying to the department of geology and mining. This rule applies to government bodies as well, let alone private contractors,” he said.
According to the Minor Minerals Concession Rules, the contractor has to pay for each load of soil being transported outside the lake premises after applying to the Geology and Mining Department. With neither the Pallavaram Municipality, the executing body for the Rs 13.85 project, or AST constructions following protocol, officials in the revenue department claim each load that was lifted from the lake can be fined up to Rs 25,000. “We are awaiting orders from the Collector to evaluate the amount of earth lifted and levy fines,” said a senior official.
Officials in Pallavaram Municipality had assured action if any wrong doing was found when Express had asked them the thoroughfare granted to lorries carrying sand outside the lakes for the project. Tamil Rajan, owner of AST constructions and K Sivakumar, Pallavaram Municipality commissioner were unavailable for comment.
Civic body too can be pulled up for violations
Officials in the revenue department told Express that even the municipality can be pulled up for allowing violations