Illegal sand mining, which was rampant along the dry riverbeds of Noyyal, regarded as the lifeline of Coimbatore, has temporarily ended with the river witnessing heavy flow of water after recent showers.

Riverbeds that were dug up by sand smugglers in places such as Alandurai, Madhvarayapuram, Iruttupallam, Narasipuram, and Karunya Nagar are currently under water.

According to volunteers of NGOs working for protection of Noyyal and tanks associated with it, the river has not swelled with rain water in the recent past as it was now.

P. Ranganathan of Noyyal Paadhukappu Kuzhu said that sand smuggling was almost nil after the river rejuvenated and gained its lost vigour. “The river is flowing in full vigour at several places where sand mining was rampant. Places dug up by sand miners are currently under water,” he said.

The riverbed was witnessing large scale sand mining that nearly 10 truck loads were being smuggled out a day.

Due to this, pits deep upto 20 foot were formed along the riverbed in places like Madhvarayapuram, Iruttupallam and Narasipuram. Smugglers were using donkeys and small goods carriers to shift the sand mined from the riverbed to places close to main road for further transportation in lorries.

Illegal sand mining along the riverbed was brought under control in April after District Administration issued a circular that offenders would be slapped with Goondas Act.

Revenue Department and the police also formed special teams to conduct patrols and prevent sand mining.

“The patrols by police and revenue department has shown good results,” added Mr. Ranganathan

A senior official of Coimbatore Rural Police said that patrols would be continued even after the rain to prevent sand mining.

According to R. Manikandan of Kovai Kulangal Paadhukappu Amaipu, all the tanks attached to Noyyal river system are currently having 50 % of water on an average. Some of them are full to the brim. Of the 30 tanks part of the Noyyal river system, 22 are in city limits.

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