Environmentalists demand CBI probe in mining scam in Braj Mandal

Braj Rakshak Dal, an NGO fighting illegal mining by organised gangs in the area for the past several years, has demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the mining scam worth hundreds of crores of rupees in Deeg and Kaman in Bharatpur district.

Vineet Narain, mediaperson and head of the Braj Rakshak Dal, told IANS that on the instruction of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, the Principal Secretary of Forests B.L. Arya on Nov 10 said that according to the Rajasthan Forests Act 1953, a total of 5,232.57 hectares of hilly area was being declared as protected forests. "The letter also informed that the proposed committee to review the Raje government's decision in this regard has been dropped," he said.

The previous government of Vasundhara Raje had transferred the area to the forest department in February 2008 after prolonged struggle and campaign by sadhus, activists, Krishna devotees, NRIs and environmentalists.
On Saturday, in a press release by the agitating groups it was conveyed that a representative of the NRI community from USA, Anand Poddar, had assured the chief minister that their community would now generously extend financial support to regenerate the hills of Deeg and Kaman.

Vineet Narain said that his NGO in 2003 had got a satellite study done of Deeg and Kaman, by the National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA), Hyderabad, and IIT Roorkee. The study proved that largescale destruction of the heritage hills was taking place.

The illegal mining had caused a loss of over Rs.500 crore to the Rajasthan government. He demanded that "responsibility should be fixed of the concerned officials or ministers who criminally connived to plunder the wealth of the people of Rajasthan".
The Rajasthan Sales Tax and Income Tax Departments had conducted several raids in Bharatpur district in the past few days and have uncovered unaccounted wealth worth Rs.150 crore with one mining operator, while several others were yet to be probed.

"These raids have exposed the supply of illegal stones to the theme parks of Mayawati's government in Uttar Pradesh as well," Narain told mediapersons.

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