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Beach sand mining: Madras HC orders notice on plea seeking to stay nod

Beach sand mining: Madras HC orders notice on plea seeking to stay nod
A beach in Kanyakumari (Used for representational purpose).

Chennai: The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court has ordered notice on a petition seeking to restrain the authorities from granting permission for mining beach sand minerals from a coastal village in Kanniyakumari district.

A division bench of Justices M M Sundresh and N Sathish Kumar, before which the PIL filed by C Xavier of Chinnavalai fishing hamlet in Manavalakurichi, Kanniyakumari district came up for hearing, ordered notice. Government advocate K Saravanan took notice for the district Collector, Superintendent of Police and RDO and advocate

G Muthu Saravanan took the notice for the Indian Rare Earths Limited (IREL), a government-owned Corporation.
In the PIL, Xavier submitted that Chinnavalai fishing hamlet is situated along the Arabian Sea. The seashore area is coming under the Coastal Regulatory Zone II (CRZ-II) and the tidal waves are gigantic and aggressive in nature. During the 2004 tsunami, all the huts were washed away and many fisher folk lost their lives.

On account of the presence of thorium in the seashore, the sand mining mafia dug up the shore area and smuggled the sea sand for unlawful enrichment and it has resulted in merging of the landscape with the sea. It also led to erosion of seashore and causing threat to the lives of the fishermen.

Whenever they protested against illegal mining, the sand mafia, with the connivance of the tainted
officials, crushed them and curbed their voices with muscle and money power. After prolonged agitations, the authorities came to their rescue and stopped the illegal sand mining activities for the past three years.

However, the mafia is camping in the village seashore and earmarking locations feasible for
mining for the past one month. They had also brought heavy machineries to test the soil to find out the presence of thorium.

According to him, local residents came to know that a shadow society was formed by the sand mafia with the connivance of the General Manager, Indian Rare Earths Limited, Manavalakurichi.

The GM had recommended that the Collector issue permit to the illegal sand smugglers to carry out mining of beach minerals sand in the seashore of our village and in this connection the formalities are almost over.

Xavier said the mining of sand from the seashore would endanger lives and livelihood and cause erosion of soil and there is a possibility of the entire fishing hamlet merging with the sea.

On fearing the manmade disaster and further eventualities, the entire fishing folk of the
village gave a representation to the respondents on August 24 requesting them not to commence any beach sand mining activity on the seashore.

However, the Collector and other authorities have not chosen to look into their legitimate plea and taking advantage of their inaction, the beach mining mafia has intensified preparatory works to dig the sand of the village.

He sought the court to restrain the authorities from granting any permission for mining of beach sand minerals in the seashore of Chinnavalai fishing hamlet.

The matter is likely to come up again before the bench of Justices Sundresh and N Sathish Kumar on October 9.