No illegal granite quarrying in Kanakapura: Committee

No illegal granite quarrying in Kanakapura: Committee

Panel set up after spat between Forest minister and DKS

No illegal granite quarrying in Kanakapura: Committee

A government-appointed one-man committee probing allegations of illegal quarrying in Kanakapura taluk and within the surrounding forest areas has revealed that no such activity was taking place in the region.


The committee headed by Mohamed Sanaulla, Principal Secretary, Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, and district in-charge secretary, Ramanagara, submitted in its report to the government on March 14 has, however, pointed out that there was scope for quarry lease-holders to evade payment of royalty and VAT during transportation of granite blocks from quarries to proposed destinations, resulting in illegal transportation of the stone.


However, the report doesn’t mention name of any individual leaseholder.
The government is yet to make the content of the report public, but the office of Congress MLA D K Shivakumar made it available to the media on Wednesday.
Following a series of allegations of illegal mining in the taluk, D V Sadananda Gowda, the then chief minister, appointed  Sanaulla to probe the charges on February 17.


Allegations


Forest Minister C P Yogeeshwara too had accused Shivakumar and his family members of carrying out illegal quarrying in the taluk, which had led to an ugly spat between the two.
The government also wanted Sanaulla to inquire into allegations of creation of bogus records for forest lands based on which illegal quarrying was said to be taking place in connivance with the departments concerned.

 

After visiting 12 quarries, Sanaulla submitted the report titled ‘Report on the quarrying of granite in Kanakapura taluk’, stating that the taluk was rid of all illegal activities and that only 29 leases were carrying out “legal” quarrying activities.


“The 29 active leases of the 122 leases are carrying on the operations by and large as per the rules. There is tremendous scope for improvement of the whole system of transportation of granite, for effective collection of royalty and VAT by the government,” he states.


Sanaulla also mentions that there are three disputed quarries which are within 100 metres of the forest boundaries. The quarries are, however, inactive, he adds. The officer has said that the main issue in Kanakapura, vis-a-vis stone quarrying, was effective implementation of a system to control illegal trans­portation of granite from quarries to other locations. The Department of Mines and Geology has no mobile squads to check illegal transportation of the stone.


“The enforcement appears to be perfunctory. Despite the posting of a deputy conservator of forests in Ramanagara, the measures taken are inadequate,” he states. The issue of large-scale illegal quarrying came to the fore in 2006 when the U V Singh Committee had reported that stone quarrying was taking place in 484 locations in an area of 2,493 acres.


He had also stumbled upon unauthorised quarrying in 471 acres in the same area, besides discovering encroachment of 399 acres of non-forest land by quarriers.

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