Illegal mining: Thamarassery bishop, vicar ordered to pay Rs 23.5 lakh

The representatives for the bishop and vicar argued that the mining was done for the purpose of constructing church, school and its other institutions.

Published: 23rd April 2022 06:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd April 2022 06:52 AM   |  A+A-

Rs 2000, cash,money

Image used for representational purpose. (File Photo)

By Express News Service

KOZHIKODE: The district geologist of the state mining and geology department has asked the Thamarassery bishop Remigious Paul Inchanani and Little Flower Church Pushpagiri vicar Mathew Thakadiel to pay an amount of Rs 23,53,013 for mining unaccounted granite stones from the place under the church during 2002 to 2010. 

The mining and geology department’s action is on the basis of a High Court order following a writ filed by Catholic Laymens’ Association (CLA). As per the report of taluk surveyor, the church had mined a total of 61,900.33 cubic metre of granite stones upon permit from the two quarries under its property, situated in 12 cents of land and 11.75 cents in Koodaranji panchayat. But only Rs 1,28,000 was paid as consolidated royalty payment system (CRPS) to the government. But it had mined an additional 58,700.33 cubic metre of granite stones without remitting the CRPS. 

The representatives for the bishop and vicar argued that the mining was done for the purpose of constructing church, school and its other institutions. They also argued that mining had taken place in the same property even 60 years ago but could not produce documents to prove it. The department cannot find any trace of evidence for mining before 2002 in the place after perusing the records and making use of Google Earth. 

The CLA’s allegation was that the quarrying was illegal which ran between 1990 and 2005. CLA central committee secretary M L George had alleged the illegal quarrying was stopped after the organisation brought the issue before the public and after the infamous attacks on forest offices in Thamarassery against the Gadgil committee report in 2013. The representatives of the church contended that the petitioner’s aim was to tarnish the reputation of the church. The money to be paid include Rs 5,000 as compounding fee and it should be remitted before April 30, says in the order of P C Rashmi, the district geologist. 

BISHOP’S HOUSE COUNTERS CLAIM
The Thamarassery bishop’s house responded that the measurement of the granite stone and estimation of the fine by the mining and geology department were not done in an error-free manner, hence an appeal has been filed. “The measurement was made by Thamarassery tahsildar and Koodaranji grama panchayat secretary in a mysterious manner without informing us in advance. Also, the bishop has nothing to do with the legal mining but it was carried out under the church committee,” said a press release from the bishop’s house.



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