Visakhapatnam: Following the direction of Visakhapatnam district collector Vinay Chand, a team of officials had visited Kalyanalova Dam on Friday to look into the issue of alleged illegal mining in its catchment area at Kalyanalova village in Ravikamatham mandal of the district.
After Chodavaram MLA Karanam Dharmasri had recently brought the issue to the notice of the district administration, officials reached the village to check feeder channels of the dam that were reportedly blocked by the wastage of mining operations. They have prepared a report based on their observations and will submit it to the collector on Monday.
On Saturday, the villagers claimed that the investigation by Narsipatnam revenue divisional officer (RDO) and mining deputy director was invalid. They demand the government conduct a fresh inquiry by involving district level officials from irrigation and forest department and the state pollution control board.
Condemning the attempts to continue mining in the catchment area of the dam, members of Kalyanalova Parirakshana Committee said that irrigation officials were not represented in the inquiry team deeming the committee’s inquiry as illegal. They also condemned the attitude of the officials who conducted inquiry.
P.S. Ajay Kumar, a member of the committee, said: “The inquiry done by involving only the mining company is a mere ritual. No prior information was provided to the affected villages and the ayacut farmers. No notices were served to the farmers, who filed numerous complaints against violation of their riparian rights due to illegal mining in catchment area.”
He alleged that: “Attempts are being made to show the mining company's staff as locals and gather evidence from them that mining is not a problem. There is no legality to this. Irrigation department officials are not represented in the inquiry team. The mining company arranged lunches for the officers who came to investigate.”
Based on the preliminary information of the inspection, the district collector said that the officials have noticed heaps of waste by Stone Plus mining company blocked the pathway of water into the reservoir. They confirmed that the mining firm has not extended its operations beyond its boundaries.
Mining operations have been stopped in the village since July 5.
When asked about the allegations by the villagers, Mr Chand said: “Irrigation department assistant executive engineer has expressed satisfaction over the investigation. Again, one more inspection under the leadership of joint collector will take place in the presence of the locals.”