VELLORE: A 27-year-old man died after he was buried alive while illegally quarrying sand at a village in Arakkonam in Vellore district on Thursday.
S Thangavelu, a resident of Valarpuram, along with three other local villagers, was quarrying sand on the river bed of Nandiyar in the morning. When they were collecting sand from the bottom, a piled-up mound suddenly began to slide down. Thangavelu, a hearing and visual impaired, was caught in the slide and buried alive, while the other men escaped with injuries, sources said.
His body was taken to the local government hospital for autopsy. The three other men, who suffered injuries, were identified as Churchil Das (50), Ezhumalai (48), and Nagaraj (47) – all from Valarpuram village. They were taken to a private hospital in Tiruttani for treatment. The sources said illegal sand mining was rampant in the area with the officials turning a blind eye to the plundering of the natural resource causing an irreparable damage to the river.
The officials of the Revenue and Police departments have initiated a probe into the incident. “The local Revenue Inspector) and the VAO have been directed to hold a thorough inquiry and submit a report immediately. Based on the inquiry reports, further action will be taken,” R Jayakumar, Arakkonam Tahsildar, told Express.
The local VAO lodged a complaint with the Arakkonam Taluk police on the incident. The Police are probing Thangavelu’s death and illegal sand mining. On the allegations of inaction on the part of the Revenue department officials in checking the plundering of sand from water bodies, the tahsildar said action had been taken against sand theft. “Last month also we caught a vehicle while transporting sand illegally. We are consistently taking action against sand theft,” Jayakumar said.
It may be noted that a Class IX student was buried under a mound of sand illegally piled up on the river bed of Naganathi at Arni, in Tiruvannamalai district, recently. The incident led to the arrest of 19 men involved in sand smuggling in Arni.