A special flying squad comprising officials from several departments has been formed and appropriate monitoring was on to prevent beach sand mining, Chief Minister K Palaniswami informed the Assembly on Thursday. Although beach sand mining was banned by the government based on a Madras High Court order, it was submitted in the court that mining was being done “without permission,” he said intervening Leader of Opposition M K Stalin, who wanted to know the action taken in this regard. “Hence, to fully prevent beach sand mining as per court order, government directed authorities to form a special flying squad of officials,” he said. Officials drawn from several departments, including police, in the southern districts of Tirunelveli, Tuticorin and Kanyakumari and deputy district collectors form part of the squad, he said.
The state also had requested the Centre on May 23 last to give a report on beach sand deposits in coastal districts through satellite monitoring by Bhaskaracharya Institute of Space Application and Geo Informatics (BISAGI), he recalled.
Stating that beach sand mining was banned since 2013 August in Tuticorin, he said it was extended to other districts including Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari later that year.
A special team led by senior bureaucrat Gagandeep Singh Bedi was constituted in 2013 to go into the matter, he said.
The panel’s report was submitted in the High Court and a case related to it was set to come up on September 4, 2017 he said.
When Stalin asked about late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s announcement previously that the government would come up with a policy decision on mining, Palaniswami said it would be done when matters pending in the court attained finality.
To another question by Stalin on the office seal of Central Institute of Classical Tamil featured only English and Hindi letters, Leader of the House K A Sengottaiyan said Tamil language featured in it.
Law Minister C Ve Shanmugam referring to Stalin opposing an entrance test on the lines of NEET for recruitment to lower judiciary, said the government would take all steps to protect state’s autonomy in the matter.
Stalin had yesterday opposed in the Assembly a proposal mooted by the Centre for an entrance examination on the lines of NEET to recruit judges for the lower judiciary.
He had said that the Centre’s proposal went against principles of federalism and would deprive State of its right in the appointments.