August 3, 2016

Samudram Eri -- Sand Quarrying Devastation

The Samudram Eri is approximately 700 acres of poramboke land located south of Arunachala. It is indispensable to Tiruvanamalai in its function as a massive water catchment area during the monsoon season. From the Eri, a pumping system sends its water to other catchment areas such as Thamari Nagar Tank, which are essential parts of the Tiruvannamalai's water supply. 

The Samudram Eri has been a valued part of the ecological system of Tiruvannamalai for hundreds of years but sadly we are not treating it with the respect it deserves. Already Tamil Nadu has a severe water shortage, and it is truly madness to destroy the existing system we currently have in order to provide lucrative gains for the very few. 

About 10 years ago industrial level sand quarrying started in the Tiruvannamalai area. Previously the Eri was undisturbed except approximately every 15 years encroaching thorny bush cover was felled. This occurred again about 3 years ago, which unfortunately gave even greater unfettered access to heavy sand quarrying machinery on the Samudram Eri. 

About a month ago sand quarrying on the Eri was halted, as to whether or not it starts again, only time will tell. But for the well being and future of our children and grandchildren, it is hoped that we begin to treat our ever diminishing resources with greater respect. 

Just a small part of the Samudram Eri devastation

Sand quarrying has created massive holes throughout the Eri

Numerous quarries throughout are now interferring with the water table

Some of these unnatural lakes are 20-30 feet deep and many acres in size
Deforestated Eri will be turned into massive quarries if work recommences

View of private farms and forestated land at the edges of the Samudram Eri

View of trees on top of the Samudram Eri bund

Magnificent Banyan Tree on Bund -- wonder how long it will be standing?

Part of the Samudram Eri trying to recover from the massive deforestation which occured several years ago

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