VILLUPURAM: Environmental activists here have demanded the district administration and the State government to come up with effective measures against mafias from quarrying sand from the Thenpennai riverbed.
The activists said that more than 12 km of the river has been completely ravaged by the mafias.
According to the Public Welfare Department (PWD), permission was granted for sand mining at two spots only - one at Thenkuchipalayam and the other at Thirupachanur.
But, the mafias have been active in over 18 villages, including Akkadavalli, Korathi, Yenathirimangalam, Chathiram, Ulunthampattu, Velliyambakkam and other interior villages near
Thenpennai. The activists said the need of water for agriculture and other purposes hinges on rainfall from the Northeast monsoon.
“Sand which has been naturally deposited in the riverbeds helps raise the groundwater levels and purify water naturally. Besides, it is the only natural element to protect rainwater from mingling into the sea. So, saving sand is the only left way to preserve the groundwater levels. But the sand mafias have mushroomed over the last three months after the ban was lifted.