ONGOLE: In its ongoing crackdown on granite factories to check illegal mining in Prakasam, the Vigilance department has seized eight trucks carrying granite blocks without any legal document in the Martur region of the district.
According to information, three teams of the department conducted surprise checks on Sunday and found these vehicles carrying granite blocks illegally from quarries in Ballikurava to slab-making factories in Martur. The seized items and vehicles were sent to Martur police station.
Vigilance SP (Prakasam) Rajani and DSP (Vijayawada) Ch Srinivasa Rao on Monday held inspections at the granite quarries in Ballikurava, and registered criminal cases against their management. However, the penalties to be imposed on them were yet to be decided.
“The department is currently deciding on the amount to be levied on these quarries as penalties, for indulging in illegal transportation of raw granite blocks. The amount may be in lakhs of rupees,” a department official said.
Since the start of the current financial year, the department has collected Rs 4 crore as penalties from the galaxy granite factories in the Cheemakurthy area for various violations. In May alone, over Rs 1 crore was collected from them for unauthorised transportation and over tonnage.
Recently, checking squads of the Commercial Taxes Department in Nellore seized containers with granite blocks from Marturu-Ballikurava area, for not having valid documents. As such, the vigilance officials decided to intensify raids on the granite industry in the region, which resulted in the seizure of the lorries on Sunday.
According to the officials, while owners of three of the seized lorries were relatives of MLAs, one other was owned by a member of Granite Owners Welfare Association.
The owners reportedly went to the police station in order to get their vehicles released, but were not able to do so.
“The officials are compiling the data on the recent inspections on the granite factories in and around Cheemakurthi area, which will be submitted to the government. Today (Monday), thorough inspections were carried out on granite quarries that were linked with the vehicles caught carrying raw blocks illegally on Sunday. Criminal cases were registered against the management. The raids will continue,” the Vigilance SP said.