In one of the biggest actions initiated against illegal quarrying around Bangalore, the district administration has confiscated 6.75 lakh tonnes of stone aggregates worth Rs. 62 crore even as cases have been registered against 30 quarry owners, accused of quarrying illegally on government land on Bellary Road.
Tuesday’s action by a team of officials led by Deputy Commissioner of Bangalore Urban G.C. Prakash follows complaints of illegal quarrying on 117 acres of government land adjacent to National Highway 7 near the Bengaluru International Airport. Even as the raid was on, revenue officials, who are supposed to keep a tab on the illegal activities, were caught napping.
Quarrying was being carried out illegally even after the Mines and Geology Department stopped issuing permits 10 years ago and illegal activities continued under the pretext of deemed licensed digging pits in and around Bettahalasooru. They then transported the stone aggregates to many construction companies in and around Bangalore, officials said.
“The quarry owners neither have permits nor have they paid royalty to the department. They also did not have transport permits,” Mr. Prakash said, adding that 6.5 lakh tonnes of stone aggregates worth Rs. 62 crore has been seized on Tuesday.
On verification of documents, it was found that the quarry owners have dug up around 200 pits haphazardly and each pit was not less than 100 feet. Moreover, the pits were dug up within 500 meters of the National Highway, which is a violation, he said. In addition, blasts were being carried out at night, which amounts to violations, as the government has barred quarrying activities in residential areas and within city limits.
The power connection provided by Bescom to these quarry and crushing units were disconnected. “The Bescom officials should have sought the required documents for verification before sanctioning connection. Had the officials done this, the scam would have been exposed long ago,” a police official said.
The Chikkajala police have registered cases against 30 quarry owners under the Regulation of Mines and Minerals Act, based on a complaint lodged by jurisdictional tahsildar.