Sustained action by officials of different government agencies against erring granite operators has come as a shock to a large number of functionaries of major political parties.
Except Communist Party of India (Marxist) members, who staged a demonstration demanding firm and stern action against erring granite firms, and the green brigade in the southern districts, local leaders of political parties have preferred not to comment, but only wait and watch the developments.
With little more than 15 days gone since the inspection of 175 quarries began in right earnest in the district, there has been a stoic silence from major political parties, including the Dravidian and national parties. Interestingly, the public and those interested in preserving the environment alone had come together on this issue, officials said. There are many others who are disclosing startling inputs to the Collector and police officers about the attempts to grab land by granite operators.
Collector Anshul Mishra, Superintendent of Police V. Balakrishnan and other officials are not only monitoring the progress of investigation on a daily basis from the team members, but are also in the process of preparing a comprehensive report to the State government on the frauds that have been exposed from the checks so far. Of course, there are some granite quarry operators who have not indulged in illegal mining or other deviations such as encroachment of poromboke land or other illegal acts from the findings, a senior official, who is part of the investigation, told The Hindu on Thursday.
When The Hindu contacted AIADMK functionaries, they said, on condition of anonymity, that the officials were acting only at the behest of the State government. “Our leader had promised to cleanse wherever such large scale frauds had been committed in the previous regime…,”
The DMK leaders described it as nothing but a tactic to settle scores. The leaders, however, did not want to give their opinion or comments on record for different reasons.
The Congress and Bharatiaya Janata Party functionaries had mixed opinions, but again preferred to stay out of the issue. The leaders said that the government acted on the report of former Collector U. Sagayam, who had pin-pointed large-scale violations. “Perhaps, we will take a look at the final report and then share our views” is all that they said.
The Puthiya Tamilagam president K. Krishnaswamy, at a recent press conference, called for the formation of a high-level committee to look into the alleged irregularities.
Members of Anti-Corruption Movement in Madurai and other southern districts said that the government should take over the granite sector in public interest and book those officials who had allowed the granite operators to ruin natural resources.