Anantnag, June 14: A scam has surfaced in the Geology and Mining Department of Anantnag district where 50 receipts of royalty have gone missing and apparently caused huge loss to the state exchequer.
In reply to an RTI, District Mineral Officer Anantnag Geology and Mining Department has said that total amount collected on royalty via FCI book records from Sr. no 0696351 to 0696400 dated 14-12-2018 is Rs 1 lakh 21 thousand. While according to the RTI reply, a copy of which lies with news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS), photocopies of counterfoil of FCI are not available in the office records.
An official told news agency KINS that there are 53 brick kilns registered in Anantnag district and Rs 2.5 lakh is collected as royalty from each of them annually. Similarly, there are 18 stone crushers and royalty is collected as per the material extraction.
“This indicates lakhs of rupees have been collected as royalty from stone crushers and brick kiln owners but very less amount has been deposited into the treasury as 50 receipts have gone missing,” the official said.
Joint Director Geology and Mining Department Nisar Ahmad said an enquiry has already been initiated into the Anantnag case.
“Wherever receipt book has gone missing, authorities will take action against erring officials. I assure you action will be taken once the investigation is completed. We won’t spare anyone,” he told news agency KINS.
Similarly, the illegal operation of stone crusher plants in the peripheries of Anantnag town and other rural areas of this district continue to wreak havoc on the ecology as most of these plants are being operated near the river banks and residential areas.
Locals told news agency KINS that wide-scale rock excavation is polluting the living environment for those living in adjoining villages. “The rock excavation is resulting in loss of green pastures and pine trees and polluting drinking water,” they said.
The locals said the dust produced from these units has affected the vegetation near these plants while the concerned authorities are looking the other way.
“The authorities did take some cosmetic measures from time to time due to public outcry, which later dies down as the concerned departments did not follow up the process of registration of these units as per the guidelines laid down for the same. Also, due to the political patronage, operators of such many units are let go,” they said.
“Stone crusher plants in Kulamchinar Shankarpora, Sadura bridge, Lalan bridge, booth bridge on Bringi stream are all operating illegally from the river banks in the populated residential areas. These units have become a nuisance and have adversely affected the ecology in the areas from where these are operating. An owner of one such plant runs his unit in partnership with one influential person and every time our department tries to initiate action against such people, we are pressurized by the higher ups to not go ahead with any action against these violators,” said an official wishing anonymity.
The official said these units are running in brazen violation of laws and have affected the flora and fauna adjacent to these plants. “These operators openly take the heavy machinery and trucks into rivers to extract boulders, which have led to almost an extinction of fish in Bringi and Sandran rivers,” the official said.