Two years on, investigations yet to be completed
Anantnag July 05: Around two years have passed since an alleged scam surfaced in the Geology and Mining Department of Anantnag district, authorities are yet to complete the investigations to unveil the facts.
Two years ago, an alleged scam surfaced in the Geology and Mining Department of Anantnag district where 50 receipts in FC1 book of royalty had 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.
Two years ago, authorities initiated an enquiry and to take action against the fraudulent. “It seems authorities are deliberately delaying the investigations. The accused person has not been suspended but transferred to Pulwama where he is also dealing with finances. When will the investigation be completed we don’t know,” a senior official told KINS.
Joint Director Geology and Mining Department Nisar Ahmad said he has forwarded the matter to departmental vigilance for the investigations. “I recently took over as Joint Director. Once the departmental vigilance submits the report, we will take action as per the rules,” he told KINS.
Similarly, the alleged illegal stone quarrying plants in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district are causing ecological degradation.
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 Kashmir Indepth News Service (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 political patronage, operators of such many units are let go,” they said.
They said these units are running in brazen violation of laws and have affected the flora and fauna adjacent to these plants.