Even as the Territorial administration was making efforts to crack down on illegal sand mining in Puducherry, Communist Party of India (CPI) has come out in support of bullock-cart owners involved in illegal mining of sand demanding streamlining of sand mining norms in the UT.
The party organised a fast in support of the bullock-cart owners involved in sand mining business and demanded that the UT government grant sand mining permit to them. Party secretary R Viswanathan said that the government could charge `50 to `100 per cart, and allow only those with permit to mine sand.
Viswanathan added that the permit holders could be given identity cards. Moreover, by issuing permits to bullock-cart owners the government could earn a revenue of around `3 crore per month, he said.
Viswanathan said that there were around 4,000 bullock-cart owners engaged in sand mining, whose only source of livelihood was the income from the mining works. He said that without permits, such miners were exploited by people within the government and by rowdy elements as well.
Giving permits to such miners would add to the government’s revenue and save the miners from exploitation at the hands of anti-social elements.
The Territorial administration has not issued permits for sand mining in any of the areas of the Union Territory since it had given permits to mine around 85 cubic metres of sand more than a year ago.
The permits given to PAPSCO and Puducherry Cooperative Building Centre at Then Penniyar and Varahanadi near Manalipet have long expired, revenue authorities said.
Revenue authorities have identified some places where mining could carried out, and have moved a file to get the government approval, said deputy Collector (South) Gaurav Singh.