Illegal mining: After Porbandar limestone, Jamnagar bauxiteadmin
In a joint operation, the police, Revenue and, Mines and Minerals departments have unearthed an illegal bauxite mining scam and detected royalty theft to the tune of Rs 4 crore in Jamnagar district. Last year, a Rs 100-crore limestone mining scam had been reported from adjacent Porbandar district. As in the Porbandar case, investigating agencies say the royalty theft figure may go up as the probe proceeds.
“So far, three cases of illegal bauxite mining in Kalyanpur taluka of Jamnagar district have been registered and theft to the tune of Rs 4 crore detected. As the investigation is in the primary stage, the figure may go up. Joint investigation in the case will continue for at least two more months as we plan to cover the entire mining belt spread over Kalyanpur taluka,” said Jamnagar Superintendent of Police Piyush Patel.
The Mines and Minerals Department has registered the theft cases with the Kalyanpur Police Station. In the first case, two Virpar village residents – Sida Kabaria and Merag Chavda – have been accused of illegally mining 61,533 metric tones (MT) of bauxite on a 8,194 sq m stretch of land in Survey No 66 at the village. They have been accused of royalty theft to the tune of Rs 2.14 crore.
The second case has been registered against Kana Lagaria and Ashapura Company for royalty theft to the tune of Rs 1.65 crore and illegally mining bauxite on 4,622 sq m land in Survey No 174 of Virpar village.
According to the third complaint, Jagashi Kanagaria, Mula Pala and Ashapura Company formed an illegal group to mine 5,428 metric tones (MT) of bauxite on a 1,849 sq m stretch of land in Mota Asota village.
“Cases have been registered only where mining activity was on. Equipment and vehicles have been seized from the spots,” said Patel, adding, “The investigation has so far not covered cases where mining activity has been concluded.”
The Jamnagar police have called in a team of geologists from Gandhinagar to assist in investigations. “Detecting illegal mining cases involve a number of procedures such as assessment of land and mineral, its quality and quantity. Hence, we have asked for a team of experts from Gandhinagar,” said Patel.