Staff Correspondent

Yellow blended stone reportedly extracted on government land

  • Arsikere Tahsildar imposed a fine on those found extracting low-grade steatite on government land
  • Contractors said to be extracting steatite on the pretext of `levelling' the land

    HASSAN: Even as the issue of illegal mining is haunting the coalition Government, people in Arsikere taluk of the district are alleging that some "influential people" are extracting yellow blended stones in Ranganayakakopplu village of the taluk. They said despite knowing this, the authorities were reluctant to take steps against those involved. People complained to the authorities concerned in the Department of Mines and Geology and Arsikere Tahsildar. He conducted a raid and imposed fine of Rs. 5,000 for extracting "low grade steatite" on government land. Shocked by the reported incident of illegal mining in his constituency, Arsikere MLA A.S. Basavaraj said even after learning about this, the authorities concerned have failed to take action. They imposed fines on those involved only after people raised objections, he said. "This shows the callousness on part of the authorities concerned in saving public property," he added. According to people, some contractors are extracting yellow blended stone on 10 acres land of survey number 26 in Nagasamudra village in Arsikere taluk. Though it is a government land (gram thana), the contractors are extracting steatite on the pretext of "levelling" the land.

    They alleged that despite their objections, those engaged in this activity refused to stop. However, when the issue was brought to the notice of the tahsildar he visited the spot and seized machinery used for mining operations, they disclosed. Villagers said the authorities fined those involved in extracting the stones Rs. 5,000, while the contractors extracted stones worth lakhs of rupees. Thamme Gowda, senior geologist, claimed a person was extracting low-grade steatite illegally for manufacturing household articles.

    However, he was fined Rs. 1,500. But he again applied to level the land and got the permission to extract stone by paying Rs. 20 a tonne as royalty. Mr. Thimme Gowda said he was unsure as to whether the land belonged to Government. He said the department had collected Rs. 14 lakh as fine from those involved in illegal mining during year. The royalty collection, which was Rs. 1 crore in 2000, had now increased Rs. 4.65 crores, he added.