Having dug up a lot of violations, deviations and discrepancies in granite quarries, officials have decided to recommend the cancellation of licences issued to all erring granite operators in the district.
A reliable source in the district administration said that the inspection, which began 45 days ago in all 175 granite quarries, had been completed. The counting of stones and assessment of their market value, among other details, were being taken up with the help of geologists.
Some stones, Kashmiri gold, raw silk, etc, which are quiet expensive in the international market, had to be assessed properly. So far, 1.50 lakh stones or 15 lakh cubic metres had been recorded from the quarries belonging to PRP Granite and Exports alone. A senior official, who had inspected the stockyards, said that the firm was permitted to mine around three lakh cubic metres but had mined five times more. The official said that a lot of quarry licences have to be cancelled.
“The District Collector can recommend cancellation … it is the government that has the power to cancel,” the official said, recalling that based on the recommendation of the then Collector U. Sagayam, the government had cancelled the licence issued to Olympus Granites, in which Union Minister M.K. Alagiri’s son was one of the partners.
For more accuracy in gauging the stones, the official said that they would again use the unmanned aerial vehicle for survey with a few more gadgets added. “We have downloaded plenty of pictures from the spot, which will be filed as evidence in court.”
Further, the stones, which were hidden in some of the quarry operators’ yards, had been identified with the help of the UAV, which facilitated their speedy counting layer by layer.
The recently appointed officer-on-special duty, John Louis, an official in the rank of District Revenue Officer, has been primarily rechecking the assessments being done by the 18 teams in the 175 quarries.