Madurai district police have registered over 20 cases and arrested 45 persons so far

The Tamil Nadu Government has posted John Louis as Special Officer, in the rank of District Revenue Officer, to oversee the survey and assessment of granite quarries, now under way, in Madurai district. District Collector Anshul Mishra, who is heading the revenue team in inspecting the quarries and monitoring the progress on a daily basis, said on Tuesday that Mr. Louis, who was earlier serving in Villupuram district, would primarily oversee the surveys being carried out in the granite quarries and the assessments being made by the team members.

Policemen among gathering to complain against land grabbing

Tamil Nadu government has issued a lookout notice against Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister M.K. Alagiri's son Durai Dayanidhi Alagiri for his alleged involvement in the multi-crore granite mining scam.

But the state opposed a bunch of petitions in the Madras High Court seeking a CBI probe into the illegal granite quarrying in Madurai district. Advocate General Navaneetha Krishnan told the bench on Friday the government would nab the culprits behind the illegal quarrying and was not protecting anybody.

With the objective of creating awareness on the safe use of electricity and promote the use of high standard electrical appliances, a human chain was formed from Tamukkam to Raja Muthiah Mandram here on Monday.

Organised by Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO), Madurai Region, the event was part of the Electricity Awareness Week to be celebrated across the State from Tuesday to Monday (August 21 to 27).

District Collector Anshul Mishra has submitted an interim report on the inspection of 175 quarries by 18 teams to the State government, officials said.

The volume, in terms of granite quarrying and monetary angle, which was allegedly carried out in an illegal way by many granite operators for the last one or two decades in Melur taluk, had been unravelled after former Madurai Collector U. Sagayam’s report got leaked to the media.

Fishing rights granted in favour of a cooperative society of fishermen or Scheduled Caste people on a preferential basis cannot be cancelled just because the local body, in which the water body was situated, was willing to pay more money than the society, the Madras High Court has said.

Dismissing a writ petition filed by Thimmapuram village panchayat in Krishnagiri district, Justice S. Manikumar said: It is not for the interest of the panchayat administration or its coffers that fishing rights are granted. It cannot also be said that fishing rights are the property of the panchayat.”

The Madurai district police arrested 21 persons accused of violating various norms in connection with the granite quarry operations here on Wednesday.

Based on the complaints from the Village Administrative Officers, the Keelavalavu and Othakadai police had registered criminal cases against granite quarry staff and operators including the partners/directors of PRP Granites and Exports, Sindhu Granites and Olympus Granites, among others. In the process of granite quarrying, the workers had allegedly indulged in trespass, encroached into government land, suppressed evidence and deviated from licence norms for quarrying.

Scrutiny reveals plenty of alleged violations

At least five water bodies appear to have been destroyed by granite quarry operators. This is the finding from the teams which are in the process of inspecting the granite quarries for alleged violations in Madurai district till Wednesday. Based on the former Collector U. Sagayam’s report on the deviations allegedly committed by granite companies in mining activities, the officials got into the act of carrying out an inspection.

The Tamil Nadu tourism department is implementing a Rs 450-crore project along with the Asian Development Bank (ADB). In the first phase, the department would take up the East Coast circuit followed by the Southern circuit. The main focus will be on improving infrastructure and safety.

The first meeting of the State Level Steering Committee in this regard was held here on Wednesday. Tamil Nadu is one among the four states selected by ADB for the Infrastructure Development Investment Programme for Tourism. TN is the only southern state with the other being Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The programme targets enhanced economic growth and provision of livelihood opportunities for local communities through tourism infrastructure development.

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday directed officials to prevent dumping of solid waste in water bodies or their burning along road sides.

Disposing of a suo motu public interest litigation petition based on a photo feature published by “The Hindu,” a Bench comprising Justice R. Banumathi and Justice G. M. Akbar Ali directed the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board officials to monitor and ensure that municipal solid waste was not dumped in water bodies or burnt on roadsides. It also instructed the Madurai Corporation Commissioner and Collector to ensure strict enforcement of Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2000.