Tirunelveli quarry mishap: TN govt directs regular inspection at all quarries


Chennai, May 20 : In the aftermath of the stone quarry mishap in Tirunelveli district which claimed three lives, the Chief Secretary's office has directed the district collectors to conduct regular inspections at all the quarries in the state and take immediate action if proper security measures are not in place. The mishap occurred at a stone quarry at Adaimithipankulam in Tirunelveli district on May 14 in which three workers lost their lives and is one still missing. Tamil Nadu houses around 1,761 stone quarries and nearly 1,200 applications are pending before the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority for environmental clearance. The private quarry owners in obtain licenses for about 100 cubic foot and then mine more than ten times that quantity. Sources in the quarry sector told IANS that the corruption is rooted in the sector and that it is spread from village level officers right to the top bureaucracy and in several cases the security aspects go for a toss. While several lakh people are employed in the quarry sector, the nexus between corrupt officials and the quarry owners lead to sacrificing several security aspects that are mandatory for the functioning of a stone quarry. The department of geology and mining of the Tamil Nadu government said that there were regular inspections at the quarries and more than that drone based aerial surveys are also conducted to find out whether the quarry owners are flouting the rules. The department officials also said that a different global positioning system (GPS) will be implemented to mark the boundaries of the quarries create geo-fencing for each quarry. After the Tirunelveli quarry mishap, the mining and geology department will be issuing notices to all quarry owners in the state to produce documents relating to the safety measures taken at each quarry and the evacuation methods that are adopted if some untoward incident happens. Murugan, a crane operator and a survivor in the Tirunelveli quarry mishap while speaking to IANS said, "Twenty days before the mishap of May 14, a big stone boulder had fallen down as a landslide in the quarry and we had informed the management but they did not care. Such minor incidents are later turning up into major incidents taking the lives of people like us." /IANS


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