Illegal silica mining another Obulapuram scam: Somireddy

Update: 2023-05-23 18:30 GMT

Tirupati: Former minister and Telugu Desam politburo member Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy referred to the alleged illegal silica mining in Nellore district as another Obulapuram scam.

"Like the case of illegal iron ore mining in Obulapuram, permissions have been granted for silica mining, while the actual mining is elsewhere," he charged.

On Tuesday, a team of TD leaders including Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy, former union minister Panabaka Lakshmi, Nellore parliament constituency party in-charge Sheikh Abdul Azeez and former MLA P. Sunil Kumar inspected lands in Chillakuru and Kota mandals, where silica mining is said to be taking place.

Speaking to media on the occasion, the former minister alleged silica worth ₹3,000 crore has been looted in Gudur division during the past four years. "Not even lands designated for coastal and industrial corridors, APIIC and Sagarmala project, or lands assigned to Dalits have been spared from illegal mining," he underlined.

Somireddy alleged at least ₹20 crore are going to Lotus Pond in Hyderabad every month from the proceeds of illegal silica mining. A few crores are being paid to a senior YSRC leader in Vizag.

He explained that only 78 persons have lease agreements for mining silica over 3,000 acres in Nellore district. But ruling party leaders are illegally mining silica in other areas too.

"Silica is purchased for ₹100 per tonne from the original mine owners and sold for ₹1,485. Once refined, it sells at ₹4,000 per tonne. Yet, the GST paid is ₹700 per tonne,” the former minister pointed out.

He said farmers who earn their livelihood through agriculture on government-assigned lands in Ballavolu and nearby villages are being prevented from doing so at knife point. Further, they are being paid only ₹30 per tonne of silica excavated from their lands. False cases have been booked against 33 Dalits who raised their concerns regarding this,” Somireddy alleged.


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