VACB squads conduct flash raids at crusher units

Complaints raised by various environmental organisations against the illegal operation of a few leading quarry and crusher units in the district have found results, with the latest flash inspections by Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) squads.

The inspections at nine large-scale quarries on Friday found that there had been attempts to mine beyond the permitted quantity and evade payment of ad valorem royalty to the government.

Officials said they had impounded 21 goods vehicles, which were used to transport excess quantity of stones and other quarry products. There were also vehicles without the required passes and permits to carry such materials. The flash check brought to light the need for intensified vigil in the area, they added.

“Details of the offences have already been submitted to the VACB Directorate and the Geology Department for follow-up measures. Those held for violations will have to pay both the compounding fee and the pending royalty before resuming lawful operations,” said a senior VACB officer. The officer also confirmed that those who were nabbed for serious violations owned large-scale companies.

Based on the VACB report, Geology Department officials will initiate action. The regional units of the VACB have been directed to step up vigil and conduct follow-up inspections by deploying more squads. A State-level meeting will soon be convened to discuss the matter.

Meanwhile, leaders of environmental organisations said the Geology Department was accountable for poor surveillance in the sector and absence of legal action against violators. They also accused officials of cold-shouldering confidential petitions against major quarry operators, besides ignoring local agitations against such projects.

“The illegal players in the field are equally exploiting natural resources and the poor government mechanism. If the government is truthful, it should enhance the strength of the Geology Department and streamline checking,” said M.V. Rajan of Paristhithi Samrakshana Samiti. He pointed out that the mishandling of explosives and their storage in quarries would be another area of unseen violations.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2020 5:01:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/vacb-squads-conduct-flash-raids-at-crusher-units/article32817321.ece

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