The ‘crackdown’ by villagers was an outrage of their anger against the PWD officials for not initiating action against the illegal mining and smuggling of sand in the area.
The villagers had several times demanded officials concerned to close the sand quarries as it was leading to severe depletion of groundwater lever, thus taking a toll on agriculture activities.
While Palar flows over 100 km via Vellore district, unscrupulous elements were resorting to rampant sand mining from its bed.
“Three months ago, sand quarries were operated by the PWD. Slowly, the smugglers started lifting sand from the river bed too. We submitted a number of petitions to officials against sand theft depleting groundwater table. So far, they haven’t taken any action,” villagers said. Emboldened by the officials’ attitude, the mafia started deploying carts to transport sand from the river bed. “As many as 150 carts are being used to lift the sand,” the villagers added.
On Monday, a group of 100 residents detained several carts, which did not have PWD tokens and refused to release them.
Gudiyattam taluk police rushed to the spot and tried to pacify the villagers to give way to the carts with the tokens.
However, the villagers refused to give in. Though PWD officials were informed about the situation they did not turn up at the spot.