ONGOLE: The vigilance department’s raids on galaxy granite factories in and around Cheemakurthy town of Prakasam district over the past few months have cautioned traders to refrain from flouting norms. Since the start of the current financial year, the department has collected Rs 4 crore as penalties from these factories for various violations. In May alone, over Rs 1 crore was collected towards penalties for unauthorised transportation and over tonnage.
District vigilance officials were primarily focussed on check if the establishments had obtained mining and travel permits, and raw granite blocks’ size and weight. Present and past stock positions, among other particulars, were also inspected. Of the 165 granite factories in the area, the officials completed inspections of 45 of them that have quarry leases and processing/polishing units.
“Penalties of Rs 1 crore was imposed on some of the factories in May alone. Since April, Rs 4 crore has been collected from 45 granite factories in Cheemakurthy region for a variety of violations.” Vigilance and Enforcement ASP Rajani told TNIE on Wednesday.
According to officials, these raids would continue and more fines up to Rs 6-8 crore was expected to be collected by the end of 2019. Meanwhile, granite businessmen alleged that the frequent raids had brought down the productivity by 30 per cent, as many were limiting their production and other activities in order to avoid the inspections.“I, usually, pay around Rs 2 crore royalty per month to the State. Now, I am paying Rs 75 lakh as the production has come down by 30-35 per cent” a granite factory owner said.
Collections may cross Rs 10-12 crore this year
The raids would likely continue and more fines up to Rs 6-8 crore was expected to be collected by the end of 2019, vigilance officials. District officials were primarily focussed on checking if the establishments had obtained mining and travel permits, and raw granite blocks’ size and weight