MADURAI: After the issue of large-scale illegal granite quarry operation in Madurai, a public interest litigation (PIL) against the illegal mining of minerals in coastal areas, includingKoothakuzhi village in Tirunelveli district has been filed before the Madurai bench of the Madras high court.

J Anton, 31, of Koothankuli village in Radhapuram taluk in the district in his PIL alleged that V V Minerals, owned by one S Vaikundarajan and its associated companies were indulging in large-scale illicit mining of minerals like limonite, garnet, ziron and rutile to the tune of Rs 96,120 crore on hundreds of hectares of poramboke and patta lands in the coastal areas of southern Tamil Nadu including areas that fall under national marine parks.

The petitioner said that V V Minerals has been quarrying sand in vast quantities using JCB machines beyond the licensed areas allowed by the government. The act of the company is against the legal provisions under which manual mining is alone permitted.

Moreover, the PIL pointed out that in the process of refining the soil that they quarry for atomic minerals, the company sends out the chemically contaminated, radioactive waste water into the sea. It contaminates the sea and ground water and thereby leading to various diseases like cancer, thyroid disorders, skin problems and kidney failures in the people residing near the company, the PIL pointed out.

The company was granted quarry lease by the department of geology and mining on March 9, 2001 to the extent of 3.38 hectares in Koothankuli village for 30 years, according to the petition.

Even though many representations about illegal mining including April 29 and May 28 were sent by the social activists and organisations, public and retired administrative officials to the departments of industry, geology, Tamil Nadu Minerals Limited and the district collector of Tirunelveli, there is no action on their part till now, the petitioner charged the authorities.

The PIL also prays direction for appointing an advocate commission to find out truth about the illegal mining activities in the region.

When the PIL came up for admission before the division bench of Justices N Paul Vasanthakumar and P Devadass on Friday, the bench ordered notice to be issued to the concerned officials including the industry secretary, assistant director of geology and district collector and the company VV Mminerals and posted the matter by two weeks.