The state government had so far given permission to 24 M-sand production companies following inspection by Public Works Department, Palaniswami said in response to a query from N Karthi (DMK) who wanted to know the number of licences provided for such units in the State. Only ten per cent of people were using M-sand in the past and it had risen to 40 per cent after the government created awareness on it, he said and added that steps would be taken to ensure 100 per cent use of the material.
He said sand quarrying would not be stopped suddenly since it is an essential commodity for the people. The government is also using sand for construction activities whether it is PWD or highways department. Besides, sand is required for building green houses for the poor.
“So, sand is taken from rivers and streams without violating government rules and sold to the people. Besides, the government has issued tenders to import sand from other countries,” he added.
34 detained under Goondas Act for minerals smuggling
Meanwhile replying to the debate on demands for grants for his department in the Assembly state Law Minister CVe Shanmugam said, the government has detained 34 people under Goondas Act for transporting minerals illegally in 2017-18 fiscal. He said that about 17,340 vehicles were checked and 8,717 criminal cases were booked in the last financial year, including the persons detained under Goondas Act. Claiming that Rs 49 crore was collected as fine in the last financial year, against previous year’s Rs 28 crore, Shanmugam said that Rs 264.64 crore was available with the trust formed to compensate land donors for mining and mineral projects.
Asking the MLAs to approach the respective district administrations to avail funds from the trust for drinking water, health and road development works, the Minister said that administrative sanction has been given for 521 works.
Shanmugam also assured that steps would be taken to renew 262 cancelled licenses for operating without environmental clearance. Pointing out that the licenses were cancelled for violating the norms put forth by the Centre, the Minister informed the House that the state was exploring the possibility of renewing the cancelled licenses.
Solatium announced for 5 victims’ families
Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Thursday announced solatium of Rs 5 lakh for the families of three workers who died while digging well using explosives at Tiruvannamalai and Rs 3 lakh for the family of two persons who were electrocuted at Nagapattinam. Speaking in the Assembly, he said three workers Kumar, Thangaraj and Seetharaman died of land slide when they were trying to explode the rocks to dig a well at Kilpennathur in Tiruvannamalai. Condoling their death, he said Rs 5 lakh would be given to their families through Tamil Nadu Construction Workers Welfare Board. The land owner Balasubramanian had been arrested and remanded to judicial custody, he added. Ganesan belonging to Kilvelur in Nagapattinam was electrocuted when he was provided cable connection to a television at home. His brother Raju too died in a similar manner. Palaniswami ordered Rs 3 lakh compensation to the family of the two victims.
Palaniswami clarifies on Ayyakannu’s arrest
Denying allegations that farmers’ leader Ayyakannu was arrested on his way to meet Leader of Opposition MK Stalin, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Thursday said Ayyakannu was held since he was involved in a pamphlet distribution campaign at a place where he did not have permission to do so. Prohibition orders are in place in the city under section 41 of the Madras City Police Act. Following a request from Ayyakannu, he was allowed to carry out a pamphlet distribution campaign at Poonamalee, Madhavaram and Ambattur. But, the farmers’ leader distributed pamphlets at Vadapalani without permission and so he was arrested by the police, the Chief Minister explained. Palaniswami denied the charges of Deputy Leader of Opposition K Duraimurugan that Ayyakannu was arrested while on his way to meet Stalin. He also responded to a question of DMK legislator TRB Raja, who asked if plastic industries would be allowed at the industrial park in Ponneri. Palaniswami said the production of banned plastic would not be allowed at the industrial park.