CHENNAI: The first joint-committee inspection of the Cooum river mouth to assess possibilities of sand theft was held on Thursday, a day before the committee was directed to file a report before the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
The NGT, on September 15, had constituted a committee to investigate if sand was mined illegally, who used the sand, what action had been initiated and also to assess the environmental impact of such an operation in the area. It had sought a report before October 8.
On Thursday, A Muthaiya, Superintending Engineer, PWD, C Kaliyaperumal, Director, Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change, Regional Office and East Chennai Joint Commissioner of Police S Rajendran were among those who inspected the spot. The committee was formed based on a petition by MR Thiyagarajan.
It stated that large-scale illegal mining of sand from the Cooum river mouth caused severe degradation of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) and coastal ecosystem, thereby also posing a risk to the fishing community’s livelihood. TNIE, in an article that appeared on September 7, originally reported the illegal mining of sea sand from the area near Napier bridge through tipper lorries at midnight. PWD officials had confirmed to TNIE that no official permission had been granted for the removal of this sand.