Public Detain GSI Official Collecting rock Samples for Vandalur Museum
Nearly 500 residents of the villages in the foothills of Vediyappan hills held captive a senior geologist of the Geological Survey of India (GSI) for six hours on Wednesday when he had gone to collect samples from the area for a rock museum that is being built in Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Chennai.
Tension gripped the locality following a protest by villagers to register their objection to the official of GSI collecting samples from the hill, where the Tamil Nadu Iron Ore Mining Corporation (TIMCO) had submitted a proposal for an iron ore mining project. TIMCO was a joint venture of the State Owned Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) and Jindal Vijayanagar Steel Ltd.
“The villagers misunderstood that the GSI official Boopathy was a sample collector for the iron ore project and they held him captive,” said a police officer.
The GSI official was gharoed when he was coming down from the hill, after collecting a few samples of rocks containing low grade iron ore. Boopathy was accompanied by a staff of the assistant director’s office of the Mining Department, Tiruvannamalai, police said.
“The geologist came to Tiruvannamalai as part of his sample collecting tour, to collect rocks that contained minerals and were radio active. The rocks were to be displayed at a rock museum that was coming up at Vandalur Zoo,” said a revenue official. Though the official showed the villagers the documents and explained the purpose of his visit to the place, they did not allow him to leave the place. The villagers forced him to throw the samples collected.
“The villagers are misguided by a group of persons for their personal gain,” added the official. On information, the officials from revenue and police departments rushed to the spot and pacified the villagers. They freed the geologist, who was held captive by the protestors, from around 10 am to 4 pm on the foothills.
It may be recalled that chairman of Central Empowerment Committee (CEC) P V Jayakrishnan visited Kavuthi-Vediyappan hills on the first week of February this year, to prepare a report to be submitted to the Supreme Court, which constituted the committee. The chairman’s visit was borne out of the revised proposal submitted by TIMCO for 23 hectares of land in the hills for the project. In its first proposal in 2008, the TIMCO had sought licence for 325 hectares of land in the hills, for the project.