Chennai : The Tamil Nadu Water Resources Department will reopen sand quarries in the state on February 25 after the urban local body polls scheduled on February 19.
On January 6, the state government had announced that 16 river sand quarries for heavy vehicles and 21 sand quarries for bullock carts would be opened in the first week of February. In the second phase, the government is planning to open 63 big quarries and nine bullock cart quarries.
However, sources in the environment department told IANS that the second phase would be allowed to open only after getting clearance from the Environment Impact Authority (EIA).
The move was postponed due to the government being wary of unnecessary issues in the run-up to elections and more hearings being required in certain areas in the Cauvery belt.
State president of the Tamil Nadu Lorry Owners Federation, Sella Rajamani told IANS: “The government must lay proper roads near the sand quarries that are to be opened soon. As the quarries were shut for the past several years, the approach roads are not suited even for plying a light vehicle, leave aside big lorries and trucks that are necessary to transport sand from these quarries.”
He said the lorry owners are in a dilemma after the government announced the rate of sand as Rs 1000 per unit. He said that the price has to be increased as the transportation costs will have to be included in the sand price.
However, Water Resource Department officials told IANS that the issue of pricing will be settled after the February 19 urban local body polls.