Bengaluru: Want to mine granite in Chamarajnagar or sand in Mysuru? Make sure you pay a ‘cut’ to the all powerful kin or loyalists of co-operation minister H.S. Mahadevprasad and Public Works minister Dr H.C. Mahadevappa. Or the best way out could be to keep aides of top ruling politicians happy to get your sand-laden trucks through.
Mysuru and Chamarajnagar are witnessing what Ballari did during BJP rule: Rampant, illegal excavation of natural resources and gross misuse of power Former Lokayukta Santosh Hegde in his famous report on illegal mining called the ore-rich district ‘Ballari Republic,’ now, Mysuru and Chamarajnagar seem to be going down the same road, thanks to illegal granite and sand mining.
The total domination of Lingayat, Kuruba and SC officers (the communities of Mahadevprasad, Siddaramaiah and Dr Mahadevappa) has resulted in the denial of a fair deal to those aspiring for government contracts including competent outsiders, said sources.
In Chamarajnagar, family members of Mahadevprasad have a granite mining licence. Officially, their activity is restricted to a few acres. But, sources in the district administration alleged that anyone keen on mining, has to either pay a cut or route their goods only after obtaining the family’s approval.
Controlled regime: Sources said a deputy secretary and an IAS officer in Bengaluru ‘take care’ of the contracts of all departments like PWD, Mysuru City Corporation and Mysore Urban Development Authority (MUDA) and ensure the contracts go to their masters’ choice.
Absconding former ZP chief Marigowda and a former mayor, who are close to Siddaramaiah, allegedly used to ensure the smooth passage of files without anyone raising queries. Former Janata Parivar men are reaping the benefits of power while home-grown Congressmen are cursing why they got a Congress government which has kept them at arm’s length! The heritage capital, Mysuru, is also the sand mafia capital.
Unlike in Ballari, in T. Narasipura and surrounding areas, illegal mining is carried out by close confidants of Dr Mahadevappa including Ningan Babu and Dharmendra. Officers of their choice were posted in particular places to ensure the smooth movement of sand-laden trucks.
Officials in the SP’s office would send truck number to officers on the spot through SMS and only those trucks would be given passes to carry sand in the night. These numbers would be conveyed in advance to checkposts so that the trucks could pass without checking, sources said.
Now, after the Marigowda episode where he allegedly abused Mysuru DC Ms Shikha, all activity has been stopped fearing a public outcry. Mysuru SP, Abhinav Khare who is under a cloud for his proximity to Rakesh Siddaramaiah and Sunil Bose, issued a statement that the administration has managed to contain illegal sand mining to the extent that transportation was brought down from 100 trips a day to almost 10. It remains to be seen how long this self-imposed ban will continue....