: At least three illegal sand quarries are functioning in Palar river basin in Udumalpet taluk in Tirupur district. Villagers said illegal sand mining was happening for months in the region, and the violators had threatened residents as well as the officials.
The district administration was yet to initiate any sort of enquiry into the issue. On Saturday, two sand-laden trucks managed to escape, even as a team of revenue officials tried to stop them in Ravanaapuram village.
Palar, the sub-tributary of Aliyar river, originates at Thirumoorthy hills, and passes through villages in Udumalpet and enters Coimbatore district.
The district administration has not given any licence to mine sand in the river. “A farmer who owns around six acres of farm land on the banks of Palar riverin Valaiyapalayamin Vallakundapuram panchayat obtained licence to remove ‘savudu’ sand from his farm. Though he had obtained the licence for 15 days, five months ago, he quarried beyond the expiry date. Apart from the sand in his farm, the sand from the river basin was also mined,” said a villager.
“The farmer could have sold more than 2,500 truckloads of sand, and got a good deal in Coimbatore and Kerala. Following which, few others who have land along the Palar river started taking advantage. Three such illegal sand quarries have cropped up in the region,” said the villager.
A team of revenue officials reached Ravanaapuram panchayat for inspection. “They found that without obtaining any licence, the quarry was functioning in a farm land owned by J Rajkumar and J Rajasekar,” said official sources.
“A sand-laden truck fled on Saturday afternoon, when the officials tried to stop. The officials managed to stop another truck for few minutes. However, the driver unloaded the sand and escaped despite warnings from the officials to halt the vehicles,” the sources said.
Some villagers from Ravanaapuram say some politicians are supporting illegal sand mining in the area.
The mafia sells a truckload of sand for Rs. 30,000. In order to upgrade the sand quality like Karur sand, they wash the sand on the spot.
When contacted, Udumalpet Revenue Divisional Officer S Asokan told TOI that, “I will order the revenue officials to conduct an enquiry into the issue and seek report soon.”