Published: 09th May 2019
Illegal sand mining in Tiruvannamalai goes unchecked: Authorities crack whip after tragic death of schoolboy
A huge outcry against illegal sand mining followed the death of P Vetrivel, a Class IX student, of Muniankudisai, Arni, who joined his father in sifting the sand in his village
The authorities seem to have woken up from a deep slumber after the tragic death of a 14-year-old schoolboy who was buried under a mound of sand illegally collected and piled up on the bank of Kamandala Naganathi at Arni in Tiruvannamalai district.
As many as 19 persons involved in illegal mining, transporting and selling of sand have been arrested by the police so far.
A huge outcry against illegal sand mining followed the death of P Vetrivel, a Class IX student, of Muniankudisai, Arni, who joined his father in sifting the sand in his village on Sunday. When the mound of sand suddenly began to slide, the boy was caught in it and buried, those working in the area tried to save him but their efforts went futile, sources said.
They added that attempts were made to hush up the incident by those involved in sand smuggling but the Kalambur police booked a case under section 174 of CrPC. The body was handed to family members of the boy after performing postmortem.
The local police, prodded by higher-ups, swung into action to arrest the sand smugglers later. As many as 19 persons were arrested in connection with digging up sand and transporting them illegally.
"Ten cases have been registered in Arni Taluk and Kalambur police stations. So far, we have arrested 19 persons in connection with illegal sand mining,"Arni Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) E Senthil told Express on Wednesday.
Kalambur police registered cases under sections 379 (theft), 430 (any act that causes diminution of water) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) r/w 21(1) (illegal transportation and storage of sand) of Mines and Minerals Act and arrested R Loganathan (45), V Dharani (31), B Lakshmanan (52), M Prakash (30), N Ramaraj (30), V Seenu (31), S Bhoopalan (34), R Karthi (23), P Vibeeshanan (39), C Ezhumalai (44), and S Prakash alias Arul (32) -- all hailing from Setharampattu, Muniankudisai, Sambuvarayanallur, Nadukuppam and Sethiyenthal villages.
The Arni Taluk police also booked similar cases to arrest P Devaraj (32), N Prakash, (35), M Jothi (34), M Annachi (39), P Babu (40), S Parthiban (22), S Murali (31), and M Kumar (36) -- all from Aavaram, Agrapalayam, Adayakulam, NK Thangal, VAK Nagar, Rattinamangalam and R Mangalam villages. All the 19 persons were produced before a local court in Arni and were subsequently remanded in judicial custody.
Meanwhile, Tiruvannamalai Collector KS Kandasamy, in a release, said the arrests were made following his orders. He said the Goondas Act will be invoked against four men -- M Prakash, M Ramaraj, C Ezhumalai and S Prakash alias Arul for illegal sand mining.
Meanwhile, sources said the main hands behind illegal sand mining were not touched by the authorities because most of them belong to influential political parties. About a hundred men have been independently operating along the banks of Naganathi to mine sand, move it through bullock carts and trucks to yards, then transport them to the buyers' places. The bullock cart operators will be paid `1,500 per trip, some of them make quick bucks by shunting several trips on a single day, the sources noted.
One and a half unit of sand is sold for `10,000 within the district, the sources rued that plundering of the natural resource was going unchecked with the collusion of certain local authorities.