Despite orders issued by District Collector K. Rajamani, the Revenue Divisional Officer (Coimbatore North) has not taken action in a case of alleged theft of red earth, the primary raw material for brick making, from the land of a farmer at 24 Veerapandi village panchayat in Coimbatore district.
The Collector directed the RDO to take appropriate action taking cognisance of a report carried by The Hindu on June 8 about the theft of red earth from a land belonging to the family of farmer turned activist T.M.S. Rajendran, one of the petitioners against illegal functioning of brick kilns in Thadagam valley in Madras High Court, on June 7.
Following the Collector’s order, a joint inspection was carried out on June 10. The Collector directed Coimbatore North RDO on June 23 that action should be taken against two persons.
On June 28, red earth was dug and smuggled from Mr. Rajendran’s family property again, based on which he lodged a complaint the next day with Mr. Rajamani. Mr. Rajamani issued a second order to the RDO, asking him to take appropriate action.
According to activist S. Ganesh, Thadagam police refused to register a case or issue a community service register on Mr. Rajendan’s complaint. “When a complaint was lodged regarding the first incident, Thadagam police said that soil is a government property and hence, they were unable to register a case. The RDO, too, did not take any action despite having received an order to the effect from the Collector,” said Mr. Ganesh.
“I am a complainant in the High Court against illegal functioning of brick kilns in Thadagam valley. If the police do not register a case against the soil theft from my family land, brick kiln operators may contend in the court that the petitioner himself was selling soil for brick making. We request the officials to open eyes for farmers who struggle to protect land,” said Mr. Rajendran.
Meanwhile, K. Jeyaraj, a resident of ‘S’ bend at 24 Veerapandi Road, lodged complaints with the Revenue Department and the District Environmental Engineer (Coimbatore North) stating that he was unable to live in the locality due to air pollution caused by mining and transportation of red earth.
“My wife has wheezing which gets aggravated due to dust pollution. All the trucks are passing through this road to avoid movement through Coimbatore – Anaikatti main road,” he said.
The District Environmental Engineer (Coimbatore north) replied that the TNPCB was unable to take action against brick kilns as a case against them is pending in High Court.