VELLORE: Charging that sand was being mined beyond the permitted limit, farmers on Friday demanded the closure of government sand quarries in Chinna Thottalam and Periya Thottalam villages. Speaking at the grievance meeting held in the Collectorate, farmers alleged that officials failed to take action against illegal mining rampant in the quarries.
“The government had permitted sand mining in an area of 100 metres wide and 1000 metres length for a depth of one metre in the Palar riverbed near Chinna Thottalam and Periya Thottalam villages. The Collector also had issued orders permitting mining of a total of 36,042 units of sand from the quarries. However, the norms and regulations are not followed in the quarries,” said N S Durai Samy of Chinna Thottalam. He said, sand had been mined for a depth of up to 35 feet in the quarries as against the permissible level of three metres, adding, “During a meeting earlier, I had informed you (Collector) that sand had been dug up till 20 feet. Even after bringing the sand mining issue to your knowledge, sand has been mined to an additional of 15 feet in the quarries.” Durai Samy said PWD officials had not issued bills to persons transporting the sand. “We see sand being transported at 2 am.” But a PWD official denied the charges.
He however, acknowledged that sand had been mined up to 10 feet, after a group of farmers protested the official version and claimed they had evidence to prove their point. After listening to both parties, Collector R Nanthagopal directed officials to inspect the quarries and take appropriate action.