Andru Minerals illegally mined laterite in East Godavari and Visakhapatnam: Probe

Venkata Reddy said Rs 12.5 crore penalty will be imposed on Andru Minerals.

Published: 19th August 2021 08:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th August 2021 08:24 AM   |  A+A-

Coal Mining

For representational purposes (Photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: Andru Minerals, a Rajamahendravaram-based mineral trading firm, was found to have illegally mined 2 lakh tonnes of laterite in East Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts in the preliminary inquiry conducted by the Mines and Geology Department. 

Disclosing this to mediapersons on Tuesday, Principal Secretary (Mines and Geology) Gopalakrishna Dwivedi and Mines and Geology Director VG Venkata Reddy said Andru Minerals was sanctioned eight leases in 2013. Following complaints of illegal mining in East Godavari and Visakhapatnam, an inquiry was taken up. 

“In the preliminary inquiry, it was revealed that 2 lakh tonnes of laterite was illegally mined and a detailed inquiry for the period of 2013 to 2019 is underway. Even security, safety norms and other aspects are also being looked into,” they said. Not ruling out the role of some officials in the illegal mining, they said the government will initiate action against the errant officials once the detailed inquiry report is submitted. 

Venkata Reddy said Rs 12.5 crore penalty will be imposed on Andru Minerals.  It had supplied 34 lakh tonnes of laterite to Vedanta company and 4.5 lakh tonnes to China. “We are inquiring these aspects. We are also probing to find out if the mineral mined was laterite or bauxite. As it had supplied minerals to Vedanta engaged in producing aluminium, we are inquiring as to what mineral was mined,” he said.

“Five vigilance teams and RVS teams are conducting the inquiry and even forest areas in proximity to the leased lands are also being surveyed. Drones are being deployed,” he explained. With regard to sand availability in the State, Dwivedi said there is no shortage of it. About 60 lakh tonnes of sand is available in the State now.

It is being supplied through 130 stock points. A tonne of sand is priced at Rs 475.  “A request has been made to increase the transport tariff in view of rise in fuel cost. A decision on it will be taken in 2-3 days,” he said, and added that the SEB is handling cases pertaining to illegal transportation of sand.



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