Chennai: Asserting that stringent mechanism will be in place to operate the sand quarries in Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami has informed that the state government will run the sand quarries in the state and also sell the imported sand.
The sand quarries will be opened soon and tenders would be invited on Thursday for quarrying. Tenders were called about a fortnight ago but only some quarries were taken up for sand quarrying work by contractors.
And since there were no takers for other quarries, it has been decided to float fresh bids tomorrow, the CM said. Intervening the speech of Congress Legislature party leader K. R. Ramasamy in the Assembly on
Wednesday, Mr. Palaniswami said activities at the quarry sites would be monitored through CCTV cameras at loading and unloading points including the yards.
The vehicles transporting the sand would be fitted with GPS to facilitate tracking by the government. On importing sand from foreign countries, the CM said it would be done by private players, but the government would sell imported sand varieties. “Imported sand will be allowed for sale by the government online after tests to ascertain its worthiness. No private players would be allowed to sell sand in the State,” he said and added that the process of sale would be ensured only after online payment.
Norms governing sand quarrying have been tightened and court guidelines in this regard were being followed, the Chief Minister said.
Sand mining was recently banned in the light of public interest litigations in the court and steps were now being taken to open quarries following a
judgment in this regard.
Last November, the Madras High Court had directed the State government to stop sand quarrying within six months. The court had also said that no new mines and quarries should be opened. While a division bench upheld the single judge bench’s order in January, the Supreme Court last month stayed that order.
Raising the issue, Mr. Ramasamy said the non availability of sand had affected the construction activity and he sought to know when sand quarries would be opened.