Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh) [India], August 18 (ANI): Andhra Pradesh Mining Principal Secretary Gopal Krishna Dwivedi on Wednesday said that an inquiry has been initiated into allegations of illegal mining in East Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts.
Stern action will be taken against departmental staff also if any malpractice by them is proved, he said.
While speaking to media, Dwivedi said that one Andrew Mineral Company was given 8 leases in East Godavari and Visakhapatnam in 2013.
"Many complaints were received against that company, so the mining department has initiated an inquiry. Vigilance teams plunged into action. It is found in preliminary inquiry that 2 lakh tonnes of laterite was illegally mined. Role of some officials who were in the department at the time of allegations is also being inquired. If they are found guilty, stern action will be taken. The government will take action in this matter once the final report is presented."
While speaking on sand availability in the state, Dwivedi said that 60 lakh tonnes of sand is available in the state.
"There are 130 stock points in the state to supply sand to general public. Rates of sand has not been increased, and is being sold at Rs 475 per tonnes only. However transporters are asking to increase transport charges as prices of diesel have increased. The state government will take a decision in two days. Special Enforcement Bureau will inquire cases of illegal transport of sand, he added.
Mines department director V G Venkata Reddy said that 8 leases were granted to Andrew Minerals Company in 2013.
"Now inquiry is initiated based on complaints against that company. It has been identified that 2 lakh tonnes laterite was illegally mined. Penalty will be levied on the company for such illegal activity. The company had supplied 34 lakh tonnes laterite to Vedanta Company, and exported 4.5 lakh tonnes to China. Those matters will also be inquired. It will further be inquired whether they mined laterite or bauxite. Generally laterite is supplied to cement companies, but Vedanta is Aluminum Company, so doubts arise what mineral was mined. 5 regional vigilance teams were formed and holding inquiry. Drone services are also being used for inquiry to know whether mining activity was taken up in forest area," he said. (ANI)