Tuticorin: A special team, set up on the orders of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to look into alleged illegal mining of beach sand in the district, today began its investigation after arriving here.
The team headed by Revenue Secretary Gagandeep Singh Bedi had been formed following a report submitted by former District Collector Ashish Kumar that 2.25 lakh tonnes of mineral sand had been illegally mined.
Kumar has since been transferred and posted as Deputy Secretary to Nutritious Noon Meal scheme in Chennai.
Though reports had attributed his crackdown on illegal sand mining as the reason for his transfer, Kumar himself had said, "It is government`s decision. I cannot comment."
He was one of the four officials in the state, who were transferred by the government on August 6.
Bedi, who arrived here this morning along with 15 officials from other districts, held discussions with District Collector M Ravikumar.
He said that as per the instructions of the Chief Minister, the six sand quarries in the district would be inspected by the team members along with the District Collector.
The team would also hear the views of fishermen regarding the sand quarry and submit its report in a month, he said.
While ordering the suspension of mining, the government in its August 8 order had said the team headed by Bedi and comprising officials from Revenue, Environment and Forests and Geology and Mining departments, would check if any of the lease holders have illicitly mined minerals as garnet, illmenite and rutile in the beach sands.
The Investigation is also based on the recommendation of the Commissioner of Geology and Mining, who sought the investigation following a report by the District Collector on August 6 that inspection indicated instances of illicit mining in the region.