Madras HC bars issuing of fresh mining and quarrying licences in Madurai

The order comes based on a report submitted by IAS officer U Sagayam.
Granite quarry
Granite quarry
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The Madras High Court ordered the state government to not provide any new mining or quarrying licences in Madurai district until further orders. The orders came after the court went through the report submitted by U Sagayam IAS after investigating the illegal mining scam in the region.

According to reports, the court also ordered the government to speed up the process of installing CCTV cameras in Madurai district and state borders by the end of this month. The court was hearing a petition filed by social activist Traffic Ramasamy who demanded action against illegal mining of granite in Madurai district. The plea was heard by a bench consisting of Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice G Jayachandran.

During the hearing, the state government submitted that of the 212 recommendations submitted by U Sagayam in his report, the government has already complied with 121. The state government also stated that 67 of the recommendations cannot be accepted because they fall outside the scope of law and 14 recommendations fall under the purview of the union government.

The court, recording all the submissions, pointed out that the unscrupulous mining of granite in the region has resulted in the over-exploitation of natural resources and directed the state government to appoint an advocate to coordinate with all relevant stakeholders to assist the court in the matter.

In September 2014, the then Chief Justice of Madras High Court had appointed IAS officer U Sagayam to probe illegal mining in the area and appointed him as the legal commissioner for the purpose. His probe resulted in a 600-page report which was submitted to the court in November 2015 and annexures running over 7,000 pages. U Sagayam also informed the court that his recommendations include pointers like forming a multi-disciplinary investigation team under the direct supervision of the high court to hear the cases. 

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