Tamil Nadu government urged to open more river sand quarries amid huge demand

CREDAI former president N Nandhakumar said that there could be competition in getting river sand once the quarries open and one has to wait and watch.

Published: 17th January 2022 03:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th January 2022 08:15 AM   |  A+A-

Lorry owners say opening only a few quarries will lead to black marketing

Lorry owners say opening only a few quarries will lead to black marketing. (File photo| EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The State government had recently announced that it would reopen 16 river sand quarries for lorries and 21 for bullock carts. However, sand lorry owners say this will be inadequate and want more quarries to meet the demand. 

Lorry operators say opening a limited number of sand quarries will lead to black marketing and it would be better to open more quarry sites. "In 2011, as many as 120 quarries were functioning in the State and people obtained river sand without any struggle. Besides, sand was also provided through online sales on 'first-come, first-serve' basis and officials maintained a seniority register. But, in the recent announcement, the government did not clear these aspects," said Tamil Nadu Sand Lorry Owners Federation’s State president Sella Rajamani.

As per the recent government announcement, online applications made by the general public from 8 am to 2 pm will be taken up first and lorry owners can book from 2 pm to 5 pm, depending upon the availability of sand.

"In this system, lorry owners can pose as general public and can get sand in the morning hours itself. Hence the government has to reconsider its order and discuss with sand lorry owners," said Sella Rajamani.

Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India's (CREDAI) former president N Nandhakumar said there could be competition in getting river sand once the quarries open and one has to wait and watch.

A senior official in Water Resources Department told The New Indian Express that in the second phase, more sand quarries will be opened, after getting clearance from the State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority. "After Pongal holidays, a meeting will be held with sand lorry owners. Based on this a detailed report would be submitted to the State government for further action. Also, public hearing should also be conducted in the concerned places before the quarrying can start," the official said.

Meanwhile, environmental activists are concerned about the ecological damage sand mining could cause. "When there are multiple opportunities to import river sand, why is the government keen on setting up sand quarries in Cauvery delta region? The government should reconsider the decision," said RS Mukilan, coordinator of the Tamil Nadu Environmental Protection Movement.


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