When the petitioner said if the largescale illegal quarrying was allowed to continue in the Delta region, the purpose of enacting the Tamil Nadu Protected Agricultural Zone Development Act, 2020, would be defeated, the division bench comprising Justices M Sathyanarayanan and P Rajamanickam asked about the rules of the Act. The State government counsel replied that no rules have been formed in this regard.
The bench then posed questions including whether sand lifted from the protected zone was used for constructing government buildings or for sale; and the cost of sand per unit if it is being sold.
V Jeevakumar of Thanjavur said many illegal sand quarries were functioning in Delta region, from where hundreds of lorries were being operating daily. But the Revenue and police officials failed to check it. The authorities did not properly demarcate quarry sites, failed to assess the quantity of sand to be mined and prevent over-exploitation.
At Thiruchennampoondi in Thanjavur, the government issued environmental clearance to operate a quarry in violation of law. Many villagers had staged protests and the Gram Sabha had passed a resolution against quarrying. The excavation beyond the permissible limit left deep pits in many places, he said, adding that a 10-year-old girl had died after drowning in a pit.
He sought the bench to direct officials to set up check post and install CCTV camera at appropriate places to prevent it.