Illegal Quarry and Crushing Units Seized; BJP Block Road Protesting
Illegal Quarry and Crushing Units Seized; BJP Block Road
We have Evidence of Illegal Quarrying: DC
Stone Crushing Units and Quarries found operating illegally in
South Andaman District were seized by the Deputy Commissioner South Andaman
after conducting raids. The units along with eight trucks and three excavators
were seized in two different raids conducted by a team led by the Sub
Divisional Magistrate on 28thJuly and 1stAug. 2014.
While two trucks were fined under Mines & Minerals Act and
released after production of the Transit Permit, the remaining vehicles are
still under the custody of the Dy. Commissioner.
The raids were initiated by the Dy. Commissioner South Andaman
after complaints were received regarding the illegal operation. The seizure has
led to much hue & cry among the community involved in the business, which
is backed by Bharatiya Janata Party now.
Protesting the action taken by the Deputy Commissioner South
Andaman, the BJP functionaries along with the effected party, led by Deepak
Jha, State BJP General Secretary today blocked the road in front of DC Office,
demanding release of the seized property.
“These people have Patta Lands in their names. They had parked
their vehicles in their own land, which is cannot be illegal”, said Deepak Jha,
General Secretary. “Their vehicles were seized without any intimation. The Dy.
Commissioner has no right to do so”, he added.
Jha further said that the affected party have patta lands where
crushing unit were in operation. But these units have not been functioning for
months yet case was made against them for illegal operation.
“Even if it is illegal operation, why should someone run around
for days together to get their seized vehicles released? Fine can be imposed
and their vehicles released. There is no point in holding their vehicles”, Jha
Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner South Andaman, Mr. Jawahar IAS
cleared that all the vehicles and excavators that have been seized were from
the site where illegal quarry and crushing were found in operation. “We have
evidence”, he said.
Jawahar said that intensive campaign was launched by the Sub
Divisional Magistrate and team for a week after complaints were received from
various quarters of the civil society. It was later decided in a meeting to
crackdown on these illegal operations.
“After ascertaining the facts and gathering evidences, the sites
along with 3 Excavators and 8 Trucks were seized where illegal quarry and
crushing units were in operation. Among the 8 Trucks seized, the drivers of two
trucks were found not in possession of the ‘Transit Permit’ issued by the DC
Office, although the Permit was issued to them. They were fined under the Mines
& Minerals Act, which amounts to double the market price of the product and
later released”, Jawahar added.
‘Transit Permits are issued by the Deputy Commissioner’s Office to
transport quarry products, which is valid for one day. It is also mandatory for
the drivers of the vehicles to carry the permit while transporting these
products. This is in accordance to the Mines & Minerals Act”, Jawahar said.
Jawahar also mentioned that there are two groups involved in
illegal quarry and stone crushing operations. “We used to catch them but it was
in a sporadic manner”, he said.
The DC, South Andaman added by stating that he is awaiting
detailed reports after which stern action will be taken according to the Law.
By curbing the illegal quarry operations, DC South Andaman has
shown courage to touch a sensitive nerve and taken the nexus head on, which
surely is going to create ripples.
The quarry operators is a strong and powerful lobby having both
political and financial clout. It cannot be discounted that it will take things
lying down. However, the villagers can finally heave a collective sigh of
relief with the stern action by DC.