They said that sand had not been mined in the allotted site and that they had detected violations in sand mining, using very machinery for excavation. No rules had been followed for digging operations in permitted areas, they said.
    
The quantum of sand mined was huge and if allowed to continue, the coastal area and environment would definitely be affected, a state Pollution control board official who did not wish to be named, said.
     
Meanwhile people from some coastal hamlets demanded that the team meet them and elicit their views on illegal sand mining by companies.
    
While one villager from Idinthakarai alleged that private companies had squandered sand worth several crores of rupees, two others from Kootapuli village said that they were not able to anchor their boats due to illegal sand mining which had caused erosion.
    
Sand Mineral processing companies were dumping waste into the sea and the waters off Kuduthazhai had turned red due to dumping of effluents, they said and demanded closure of the units and ban on mining of sand in unpermitted areas.
     
They also said that over exploitation of sand was having its impact on the environment and affecting fish population.

(Agencies)

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