In what could usher in a new granite mining regime in the state, the Tamil Nadu government will soon come out with a new granite policy and take over the sale of beach minerals directly to augment its resources.
The state government had imposed a ban on beach mineral mining along five coastal districts in August 2013 following complaints of violations of environmental rules and had ordered an inquiry.
Chief minister J Jayalalithaa made an electoral promise to unveil a new mining policy ahead of the May election in what could be seen as a paradigm shift in handling and management of minerals in the state, against the backdrop of large-scale irregularities unearthed in the coastal districts.
"As promised in the electoral manifesto, a new granite policy will be framed and the sale of beach minerals will be undertaken directly by the state to further augment resources," Governor K Rosaiah said during his maiden address to the 15th assembly.
The illegal mining of minerals rocked the state in 2013, after the then Tuticorin district collector Ashish Kumar, who undertook inspections of some of the leased areas including that of VV Mineral, owned by highly influential mineral exporter V Vaikundarajan, had alleged large-scale illicit beach sand mining in the district.
The state government constituted a special investigation team led by senior IAS officer, Gagandeep Singh Bedi to probe into the charges against six contractors. The team of revenue, environment, forests, geology and mining looked into illegal mining of minerals like garnet, ilmenite and rutile.