Illegal mining of sand in Bahour puts farmers in peril, says President of a water rights collective

In a letter to C P Radhakrishnan, V Chandrasekar mentioned the plight of S S Ramalingam, a 70-year-old farmer whose agricultural land is located near Then Pennaiyar river in Kuruvinatham.
Illegal sand mining.
Illegal sand mining.(Photo | Ashwin Prasath, EPS)

PUDUCHERRY: The president of a water rights collective sent a memorandum to Lieutenant Governor C P Radhakrishnan seeking immediate action against the illegal mining of sand from farmlands in close proximity to a river in Bahour.

He said that such activities pose a major threat to agricultural lands and farmers' livelihood.

In his memorandum, Bangaru Vaickal Neeradhara Kootamaippu president V Chandrasekar, mentioned the plight of S S Ramalingam, a 70-year-old farmer whose agricultural land is located near Then Pennaiyar river in Kuruvinatham.

Ramalingam has reportedly faced constant harassment from people who illegally mine sand from the riverbed, against the National Green Tribunal's (NGT) ban. The situation worsened last Friday when Ramalingam reportedly witnessed a substantial amount of soil being removed from his farmland on two-wheelers.

Claiming officials of being apathetic, Chandrasekar said the lack of enforcement of the NGT order by the Public Works Department (PWD), revenue and police departments has "emboldened the sand miners to target farmlands bordering the river."

As evidenced by Ramalingam's experience, the issue, besides depriving farmlands of fertile topsoil, puts the lives of the farmers at risk, he said, demanding the implementation of a preventive system as mandated by the NGT.

Further, the collective sought an investigation into the dereliction of duty by the Bahour PWD Irrigation wing, revenue officials, and the Bahour Station House Officer (SHO).

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