There is a long story of conflicts on titanium ores mining in the coast of Tamil Nadu; one of the episodes was explained at length by environmentalist Nityanand Jayaraman in October 24, 2007, when Tata Steel was trying to get a large stretch of red sand dunes. Ten years later, in March and April 2017, Sandhya Ravishankar, a journalist based in Chennai, was being threatened for her reports in The Wire and The Economic Times on beach sand mining in Tamil Nadu. Beach sand mining is a lucrative business not only because it supplies raw materials to the construction industry but much more because it can make available minerals which are extracted from the sand, such as ilmenite (an ore for tinanium), zircon, rutile, garnet and others. They go mainly for export.  Several firms have controversially been extracting sand in the coast of Tamil Nadu for such industrial minerals for many years. This is the background to Sandhya Ravishankar's troubles in 2017. Back in 2013 she heard about a district collector in Tuticorin preparing to raid some illegal mines in the region. When she called Ashish Kumar, he confirmed that the raid was underway. Less than eight hours later, he had been transferred to another post. Ravishankar travelled through the area for a week, searching for more stories. It was during this time that she heard of the entrepreneur S. Vaikundarajan, owner of VV Mineral (VVM), a multi-crore business, and one of the most powerful men in the state. In 2013, as narrated by the The Hindu on 8 August 2013 , " Special inspection teams which conducted raids on Tuesday at the sand quarry of V.V. Minerals, a company involved in mining operations in Tuticorin district, found large-scale illegal sand mining along the stretches of beaches at Vaipar, Vembar, Periyasamipuram and its surroundings in Vilathikulam taluk. Two teams comprising District Revenue Officer, Special Deputy Collector (Stamps), Assistant Director of Mines, Revenue Divisional Officer-Kovilpatti, Pollution Control Board officials and other revenue officials conducted raids at the mining locations for over six hours on Tuesday. Fines would be imposed on the offender soon based on the findings of the final report submitted to the Collector. Mr. Ashish Kumar said on Wednesday that around 81,000 cubic meters of raw sand had been mined illegally on more than 30 hectares of poromboke [commons] land at Vaipar, whereas miners were legally entitled to mine only on four hectares of leased land. Of the mined beach sand, mineral quantity of 230,000 tonnes was measured. The offence would attract punishment on charges of theft under IPC, provisions of the Tamil Nadu Public Properties Prevention of Damage and Loss Act, 1992, Illicit Mining and Minerals Act, Environmental Protection Act, 1986 and Coastal Regulation Zone notification, 2006. Based on five complaints of illegal sand mining by fishermen in June and grievances aired by them at a meeting in July, preliminary inspection was done by a committee comprising Deputy Collector (Training), Assistant Director of Mines and District Environmental Engineer ahead of the raid on Tuesday. The fishermen raised fears of sea erosion and environmental hazards owing to indiscriminate mining at beaches, the Collector said. In May, officials launched a crackdown on illegal beach mining of red sand in Beach Minerals Company (BMC) at Padugapaththu in Sathankulam taluk and a fine of Rs.3.10 crore was imposed on the offender following complaints of fishermen at the Periyathaalai coast. Illegal mining of 49.1 lakh cubic metres of raw sand and mineral quantity of 2.82 lakh tonnes from the mined property was detected (1 lakh = 100,000). An evaluation report of the mineral samples was yet to come and its fine amount would be 10 to 20 times higher than the penalty levied for raw sand mining by the BMC, he said. Such illegal operations were on in Tirunelveli district with 26 sand quarries and some in Kanyakumari district also, he said." This was the report in The Hindu and also in the EPW  in 2013. ============================================ Four years later, on 28 March 2017, The Hindu ran another report concerning illegal beach sand mining : "455,245 tonnes of beach minerals found. As many as 30 godowns containing beach sand have been sealed in Thoothukudi district, according to Collector M. Ravikumar. 15 locations searched. Addressing journalists here on Monday, he said that Taluk-level officials had conducted searches at 15 locations as part of a crackdown that began last week. Vast quantities of minerals mined from beach sand such as garnet, ilmenite, zircon and rutile were found stocked in these godowns. During the search operation, the squads found a total of 455,245 tonnes of beach minerals and 312,314 tonnes of raw beach sand. The searches were initiated by the district administration in the wake of the suspension of Assistant Director of Mines Krishnamohan over allegations that he had produced fake documents to facilitate the illegal export of beach minerals belonging to V.V. Mineral, a leading firm. The officials would now probe whether the mined beach minerals stocked in the sealed godowns were legally sourced, the Collector said. Beach sand mining was banned by the State government in August 2013." In conclusion, we see here a struggle from fishermen and (some) state officers against local firms which, apparently illegally, engage in large scale sand mining for industrial minerals. The awareness of the facts has escalated in 2017, to some extent due to Sadhya Ravishankar's series of articles in The Wire. By the end of 2016 reliable press sources (The Hindu and others) had reported that official probes acknowledged that V.V. Minerals "had illegally transported 9.65 lakh tonnes of heavy minerals during 2014-15 and 2015-16, well after the ban on beach sand mining and issuances of transport permits for raw sand and minerals had come into force in September 2013"..