VELLORE: A committee, headed by the Vellore AD (mines and minerals) and consisting of the Vellore RDO and PWD officials, has been tasked with finding out whether sand miners have exceeded government stipulated conditions at Perumugai village on Chennai NH in the district.
This follows a fracas between locals and sand miners resulting in a tractor driver being beaten up by irate villagers on Tuesday.
For the 1,000-odd residents of Perumugai village, the total inaction by officials despite repeated pleas on excess sand mining led to a volatile situation which is likely to snowball, if the issue is not resolved soon, sources said.
According to Venketesan, a resident of the village, “government rules stipulate sand mining only till Pillayarkuppam, but miners have come up to Perumugai affecting our lives. Also, while the use of earthmovers has been prohibited, miners use huge machines to mine sand leaving deep pits which pose threat when the river is in flow.”
Suryakumar another resident said, “It is common to see nearly 500 lorry loads of sand moving out of the site every day. The quantity is over and above the prescribed daily limit. Also, the frequent movement of lorries poses a danger to students as the vehicles make a turn near the school.”
Asked if they had approached officials, they said, “we have repeatedly petitioned several officials, but to no avail.” It may be recalled that locals boycotted the last gram sabha meet, citing this issue.
“A pertinent question is why Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan is keeping mum when the issue falls under his department and in his district,” asked Vellore District Consumer Federation president K Sathiyamoorthy. “Also, why Collector Kumaravel Pandian is not inspecting such contentious locations when he inspects and reviews official work in other areas?” he asked.
When contacted, an official in the AD (mines) office said, “The committee is yet to be constituted.” Asked whether the AD had visited the contentious site after the fracas, the answer was a no.