TN govt's volte face on sand quarrying issue

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Chennai, May 26 (UNI) The Tamil Nadu government today decided to continue with the sand quarrying business, reversing its recent decision to hand it over to private parties, following stiff protest from its allies and Opposition parties.

An all-party meeting, chaired by Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, took an unanimous decision to this effect, nullifying its earlier move to privatise it.

A resolution adopted at the meeting also decided to allow a lorry to carry three units of sand and amend rules to prevent smuggling of sand to neighbouring states.

It also decided to constitute a committee, comprising Secretaries of Industries, PWD, Revenue and Home departments, to monitor sand quarrying operations and submit a report to the government.

The main Opposition AIADMK, its ally MDMK and the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam of actor-politician Vijayakant boycotted the meeting, convened by the State government after its decision to privatise sand quarrying drew flak from its own DPA constituents -- the PMK and the CPI(M).

Apart from state Ministers and senior officials, leaders of legislature parties, including PMK President G K Mani, Mr V Sivapunniyam (CPI), Mr C Govindasamy (CPI-M), Congress Legislature Party leader D Sudarsanam and Selvam of VCK attended the nearly hour-long meeting at the state Secretariat.

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