The committee comprises Coimbatore collector and an official each from the Tamil Nadu state environmental impact assessment authority, Tamil Nadu pollution control board and the department of geology and mining.
As many as 186 illegal brick kilns were closed in the Thadagam area after NGT took suo motu cognisance of the exploitation of natural resources. The district administration took steps to close the kilns after the high court ordered them to stop operation in March. When the kiln owners approached the HC seeking stay, the court deemed the units to be illegal, which led to the closure of the units.
Coimbatore north revenue divisional officer Ravichandran, who led the team on behalf of the collector, said that inspection will be carried out for the next two days, after which the committee will send a report.
The units operated for several years without any permission, said S Ganesh, an activist. “Falling in the Western Ghats, this is an ecologically-sensitive zone that has an elephant corridor. But officials in the revenue and mines departments allowed illegal operations after colluding with brick kiln owners, which led to exploitation of minerals worth crores of rupees,” he said.