84 Private Quarries Violated Licence Norms, Says Report
CHENNAI: As many as 84 private quarries have violated license conditions and indulged in illegal mining, asserted the report submitted by U Sagayam, the official who was tasked by Madras High Court to probe the alleged mining scam in the State.
It requires a thorough probe by a special investigation team or the CBI to unearth irregularities in granite mining in the State, particularly in Madurai, Sagayam suggested in the report that was submitted before the court.
The irregularities in mining was exposed by The New Indian Express in 2008 and 2009, following which a public interest litigation was filed in Madras High Court. The court then formed the committee that Sagayam headed.
Estimating that the loot has cost a revenue loss of a whopping Rs 65,154.60 crore, Sagayam said that if the recovery was done through imposition of penalty, it would work out to Rs 1.06 lakh crore. Sagayam has recommended a multi-disciplinary team to assist the probe to look into customs irregularities, foreign exchange and money laundering.
The Sagayam Committee report also suggested constitution of a special court besides putting in place an anti-corruption ombudsman for officials. The report also highlighted that after initial action was taken by the collector and police officials in 2012 following Sagayam’s earlier report, the probe fizzled out.
It is learnt that 98 FIRs have been registered by Madurai police in 2012-13 against mining lessees besides registration of two FIRs by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption.
The detailed report, which covers 624 pages along with 31 volumes in annexures, stresses the need for amendments to existing laws besides reorganisation of the Tamil Nadu Minerals on the lines of Neyveli Lignite Corporation.
Express reported in 2008 that the royalty for one cubic metre of raw block of granite was Rs 1,575.
It was also reported by Express that the department of mines figures did not match that of the total quantum of granite exported.