Residents Fear the Impact on Farmland and Livelihoods as Tenders for Quarry Establishment Open (Tenders for Establishing Granite)
Madurai, October 23 (City Times): (Tenders for Establishing Granite) : The district administration of Madurai has stirred concerns among local residents by inviting tenders for the establishment of granite quarries in the vicinity of Sekkipatti and Thiruchunai villages. This move has raised fears that quarry activities may adversely affect farmland and the livelihoods of the community.
According to the district administration’s announcement, companies interested in setting up quarries have until October 30 to submit their tenders. The selected company will be granted a 20-year lease to operate the quarry.
The backdrop to this development harkens back to 2011 when allegations of fraudulent activities by granite quarry licensees in Madurai district came to light. The allegations suggested that these activities had resulted in significant financial losses for the government, amounting to tens of crores of rupees. Subsequently, all granite quarries in the Madurai district were shuttered, and legal cases were registered against the quarry license holders.
An investigative team led by IAS officer Sakhayam undertook a comprehensive inquiry, culminating in a report submitted to the government in 2013. The report confirmed that the government had incurred a loss exceeding one lakh crore due to the fraudulent activities in the granite quarry sector. (Tenders for Establishing Granite)
Now, after a lapse of 11 years, the district administration’s decision to permit the establishment of granite quarries in Madurai has raised concerns among local farmers and residents. Fearing adverse impacts on agricultural lands and the environment, the farming community has vociferously called for the withdrawal of the tender announcement for the new quarries.
On October 16, farmers from Sekkipatti and Thiruchunai villages took action by filing a formal petition with the District Collector, registering their strong objections to the public auction of granite quarries. In their petition, they underscored the damage inflicted on agricultural lands, as well as government institutions such as schools, hospitals, and temples, as a consequence of the granite quarry operations. (Tenders for Establishing Granite)
The farmers’ concerns and objections gained further momentum as more than a hundred individuals, including women from the affected villages, assembled at the Madurai Collectorate on October 20. There, they had the opportunity to voice their grievances directly to District Collector M. S. Sangeetha. The district collector, in response, assured the farmers that their concerns and objections had been duly noted by the authorities.
This ongoing issue underscores the delicate balance between industrial development and the preservation of agricultural lands and local livelihoods. It is a challenging situation that governments and communities around the world continue to grapple with as they seek to navigate the complex terrain of progress, environmental impact, and community well-being. The voices of the concerned local residents will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping the outcome of this contentious matter. (Tenders for Establishing Granite)