Chennai: The Federation of Indian Granite and Stone Industry (FIGSI) has informed the Madras high court that officials have mechanically arrived at a loss of Rs 1.10 lakh crore caused to the public exchequer due to illicit quarrying in Madurai district, which was based on their presumptions and assumptions.
The FIGSI, which impleaded as a party respondent in the public interest litigation filed by social activist Traffic Ramaswamy, stated this in its counter affidavit filed through senior counsel P. Wilson before a division bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice R. Mahadevan, which posted the case to January 11, for further hearing of the case.
The FIGSI submitted that it had submitted detailed facts on the allegations of irregularities of granite quarries in Madurai district to the State Industries secretary and IAS officer U. Sagayam.
Based on the authenticated statistical data, Tamil Nadu’s export of granite and products, approximately during the year 2000-2001 was Rs 258.12 crore, with a regular increase reached in 2012-2013 to Rs 2,382.47 crore. While the facts being so, notices were issued claiming a loss of Rs 16.000 crores on the leaseholders due to illicit quarrying and also a claim was made in front of the court about a loss of Rs 1.10 lakh crore in Madurai district alone.
The FIGSI being an expert body and much concerned about the development of stone industry, thought it fit to place all the relevant materials before this court, the FIGSI added.
The FIGSI submitted that method of calculating the excavated material by the geology and mining officials changed from August 2012, by simply calculating the volume based on length, breadth and height of the granite pit, without considering proven methods of calculation and sales worthy parameters. It was a trade practice to allow buyers allowances ranging from 5 cm to 20 cm depending on the quality, colour, cracks and other natural defects, which was not considered. FIGSI called it a flawed method and should be not accepted.
The adjudicating authority has adopted fanciful, imaginary export price while calculating the recovery and price of minerals. Thus, the officials have not adopted the well-settled trade practices and have projected a fanciful loss based on their presumptions and assumptions, the FIGSI added....