CHENNAI: THE Union government has been directed by Madras HC to take effective steps as a policy decision to regulate the process of mining and restrict the licence in respect of Monazite.
The first bench of Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh and Justice RMT Teekaa Raman gave the direction while passing further interim orders on a suo-motu taken up PIL on March 27 last.
The bench said the special team constituted by Tamil Nadu government should send experts drawn from Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research in Hyderabad and the Indian Bureau of Mines in Chennai to the coastal areas in Thoothukudi, Kanniyakumari and Tirunelveli districts to collect samples of raw material from sand mining and make an assessment of the availability of Monazite and submit a comprehensive report.
The bench also directed the special team to constitute special squads comprising police, revenue, mining and other departments to do frequent patrolling of the seashore to detect and stop mining of beach sand across the coastal districts and take stringent action against those who were involved in illicit mining. This followed an allegation that illegal mining was thriving despite a ban.
The bench added that the Assistant Commissioners of Customs, Thoothukudi and Chennai should furnish the details of quantity of Monazite and other beach minerals - Garnet, Ilmenite, Rutile, Sillimanite, Zircon, etc., - that were exported and their values, year-wise from 2006. Since mining had been temporarily banned, the Central and State governments should not insist on payment of royalty for the present, the bench added and listed the matter after four weeks.