Mandya MP seeks probe by Central agencies into illegal mining near KRS dam

Sumalatha draws attention to evasion of royalty to District Mineral Foundation

Published - July 20, 2021 06:29 pm IST - MYSURU

Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat with Mandya MP Sumalatha in New Delhi on July 20, 2021.

Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat with Mandya MP Sumalatha in New Delhi on July 20, 2021.

Mandya MP Sumalatha Ambareesh met Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Union Minister for Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi in New Delhi on July 20 seeking a probe by Central agencies into illegal mining in the vicinity of the Krishna Raja Sagar (KRS) dam.

Contending that illegal mining activity was being carried out with the complicity of elected representatives and officials, Ms. Sumalatha urged Mr. Shekhawat to direct a central agency, such as the CBI, to investigate alleged illegal mining in the vicinity of KRS.

In a memorandum to Mr. Shekhawat, the Mandya MP pointed out that the Supreme Court had made observations regarding structural damage to KRS reservoir on account of use of heavy explosives and blasting within a radius of 20 kilometres of the dam. Despite the apex court’s observations, Ms. Sumalatha contended that “rampant, uninterrupted and illegal mining, involving heavy explosives and blasting, is being carried out”.

Apart from the threat to KRS reservoir from the blasting and the consequential tremors, she sought to draw the Union Minister’s attention to air and water pollution, besides the environmental hazards to human habitation that include breathing difficulties and repeated miscarriages.

She referred to the damage to dwellings, collapse of structures and the shattering of window panes of houses in the villages in the vicinity of places where mining is being carried out illegally.

She claimed that several farmers had threatened to commit suicide after receiving dire threats from elected representatives and officials when they approached the authorities concerned to complain about illegal mining.

Ms. Sumalatha drew the attention of Mr. Joshi to evasion of royalty and penalty to the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) for the minerals that were being excavated illegally. She estimated the evasion to be in excess of ₹2,000 crore.

“It appears that the defaulters are being protected by political office-holders and other public officials in the area,” she said in a memorandum presented to Mr. Joshi while making out a case for a ‘fact-finding drone survey’ to unearth the illegal mining and its effects.

The MP urged Mr. Joshi to direct the authorities concerned to initiate prompt audit and collection of outstanding taxes, penalties and other dues from the mining industry in and around Mandya while taking necessary steps to halt illegal mining in vulnerable areas.

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