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'Dispose of illegal quarried granite case within 4 months'

Dispose of illegal quarried granite case within 4 months

Madras High Court (File)

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Friday directed Special Court in Madurai to dispose of a case regarding illegally quarried granite worth Rs.16,338 crores from government poromboke land in Madurai, within 4 months.

A petitioner P Senthilkumar representing PRP granites moved to the Madras High Court (MHC) seeking to direct the Tamil Nadu government to ban the auction of waste, overburden rejects, and non-saleable granite blocks.

The case was heard by Justice SM Subramaniam.

The senior counsel Wilson, who appeared on behalf of the petitioner said that keeping minerals in a nearby or adjacent area is a legal right arising out of the legal provisions as contemplated under Sections 2 (j) (x) and (xi) of the Mines Act, 1952.

The Tamil Nadu government has granted a lease of granite blocks in the Madurai district in favour of the petitioner in respect of the patta lands and Government lands, mentioned the senior counsel.

Overburden, waste, rejects, and non-saleable granites generated during granite quarrying operations could not be allowed to be sold, said the senior counsel.

If such eventualities are allowed to take place, the granite quarrying lessees would be put into irreparable loss and mental agony, and finally, granite quarrying lessees are answerable for not refilling the excavated mother earth, he added.

The advocate general Shunmuga Sundaram appeared for the State and said that the Government has already initiated action and the auction notice was published, which is under challenge. Keeping the granites open would cause financial loss, as the value of the granites will be diminished. Therefore, the authorities may be allowed to complete the auction process and deposit the proceeds in a separate account, till such time the criminal cases are disposed of by the special court, Madurai.

In 2012, the then Tamil Nadu government was instructed to submit a report regarding illegal quarrying and transport of granite in Madurai districts including Navinipatti, Keelaiyur, Keelavalavu, and Saruguvalaypatti.

Subsequently, the District Collector inspected the spot and filed a report stating that granites worth Rs.3,350 Crores were quarried by private lessees from TAMIN's leasehold areas and Rs.16,338 crores were illegally quarried from government poromboke lands. There may be a revenue loss to the tune of Rs.15,000 crores due to the unauthorized stocking of granite blocks in the Madurai district.

In 2013, the District Collector sent a draft e-auction notice to dispose of the granite blocks found in the government poromboke land. Later complaints have been filed against 180 persons regarding this issue.

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