CHENNAI: The ruling DMK allies and activists have written to Chief Minister MK Stalin seeking to scrap the government order which allows quarrying and mining in the buffer zones of reserve forests by amending the Tamil Nadu minor mineral concession rules, 1959.
"It is very sad that the Tamil Nadu government, which is implementing various green schemes, has given permission for quarries adjacent to reserve forests. Therefore, we request the Chief Minister who is working diligently to protect the greenery of Tamil Nadu to intervene and cancel the government order No. 243 issued on December 14, 2022, which may endanger the forests and wildlife," the letter coordinated by Poovulagin Nanbargal said.
In the letter to the Chief Minister, the 18 signatories from political parties, environmentalists and activists said that the ban on quarrying and mining in the buffer zone was seen as very important for the protection of forests and wildlife. "In this situation, it is surprising that the ban imposed up to one kilometre away from the reserve forests has been removed for the benefit of the mining companies and to increase the revenue of the government, " the letter signed by leaders including MDMK general secretary Vaiko, CPM and CPI state secretaries K Balakrishnan and R Mutharasan and VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan.
According to the Forest Survey of India data, only 20.31 per cent of the land area in Tamil Nadu is forest. The relaxation of the ban has put all the remaining reserve forests at risk.
"More than 500 quarries and mines and a large number of quarries and mines of TAMIN company were affected including 19 quarries. Due to this, there has been a huge loss of revenue to the government, therefore necessary amendments have been made in this provision to protect the interest of the affected quarry and mine owners and to increase the revenue of the government. Now that the ban has been lifted, the quarries which have been denied permission are at risk of re-opening. This will affect the wildlife," they said.