Lokayukta police raid quarries in and around Kukkanur in Gangavati taluk

Even as the issue of illegal mining of iron ore in Bellary district, exposed by the Lokayukta, is still fresh in people’s minds, illegal granite quarrying has come to light in neighbouring Koppal district.

The matter came to light after the Lokayukta police conducted raids in and around Kukkanur in Gangavathi taluk.

Acting on a tip-off, four teams, led by A.H. Chippar, Superintendent of Police, Lokayukta, Raichur, and M.H. Chikaraddi, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Lokayukta, Koppal, recently conducted raids on several illegal granite quarries. As many as 1,519 granite blocks of various sizes were seized during the raids.

‘Turned a blind eye’

Mr. Chikaraddi, in the first information report (FIR), a copy of which is available with The Hindu, has given a detailed account of illegal granite quarrying in and around Kukkanur.

The report noted that the authorities, including the departments of Mines and Geology (DMG), Revenue, Forests, and Transport turning a blind eye clearly indicated that they were directly supporting illegal activities.

The Lokayukta police found that the licences of only 19 firms had been renewed, and that illegal quarrying was going on in 26 places.

There were instances of firms with valid licences and without licences having encroached upon forest, government and private areas, while the firms with permission were found removing the blocks without following procedure.

Misuse of permits

Preliminary inquiry has brought to light the misuse of permits given by the DMG to transport granite blocks, while the DMG and Transport Department had not initiated any action in the matter, the report noted. False information was also being given by the firms about the size and value of the granite blocks being transported, thus causing loss to the State exchequer. No action was being initiated by officials to book cases and impose fines, the report added.

The report also mentioned the use of explosives to blast the granite in violation of the law, the use of banned chemicals in granite cutting and polishing units, and effluents being let into roadside drains without being treated. The report stated that the DMG had not taken steps to prevent illegal quarrying by invoking the provisions of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act. It also said that other departments concerned had failed to act, which indicated their connivance with people involved in illegal quarrying. The report underlined the need to thoroughly investigate their role in this regard.

When contacted, Mr. Chikraddi told The Hindu that an investigation had begin and that all relevant information about illegal quarrying was being collected.

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