Tamil Nadu would soon come out with a policy decision on quarrying of major minerals in the state.
Chief minister J Jayalalithaa said the government would take a policy decision on quarrying of major minerals soon based on the report of a special team headed by state revenue secretary Gagandeep Singh Bedi.
She said the team had submitted its report on September 17 on the status of quarrying of beach mineral in Tuticorin district, which is under the study of the government.
Besides, the team is investigating 77 quarries leased to private parties in other districts — Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari, Tiruchi and Madurai. Earlier, the state had suspended mining and transportation of minerals, including garnet, iIlemnite and rutile, across the state till all beach mineral mining quarries are investigated for irregularities.
“The economic development of a country depends on efficient use of its natural resources including mines, water, land, forest and fuel. I’m of the firm opinion that these natural resources should not be exploited beyond the limit and the stipulations fixed by the state government,” said the chief minister.
While garnet is essentially used as a gemstone, it also finds value as an abrasive; ilmenite is the major source of titanium and rutile. Titanium is used in the manufacture of porcelain and glass.
In August, the issue of alleged irregularities in mines of beach minerals came to the fore after former Tuticorin collector, Ashish Kumar, had conducted inspections at a private sand quarry and subsequenty wrote to the state administration to take suitable action.
Following this, the chief minister constituted a probe team under the chairmanship of Bedi and officials of revenue, environment and forests and department of Geology and Mines, to carry out inspections in three phases.