Nation Current Affairs 26 Sep 2021 Hundreds of Bethamch ...

Hundreds of Bethamcherla, Banaganapalle mines running without EC

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | DC CORRESPONDENT
Published Sep 26, 2021, 3:00 am IST
Updated Sep 26, 2021, 6:58 am IST
Lack of EC has led to a tussle between assistant director (Mines) D. Vijayalakshmi and mine owners in the region
It is quite intriguing how hundreds of mines in Bethamcherla and Banaganapalle areas have continued to function without any environmental clearance all these years. Representational Image. (DC File Image)
 It is quite intriguing how hundreds of mines in Bethamcherla and Banaganapalle areas have continued to function without any environmental clearance all these years. Representational Image. (DC File Image)

Kurnool: Large-scale mining activities are going on at the mines in Bethamcherla and Banaganapalle areas without obtaining any environment clearance (EC). Lack of EC has led to a tussle between assistant director (Mines) D. Vijayalakshmi and mine owners in the region.

Vijayalakshmi has taken charge recently. She has been insisting that mines cannot be run without any environmental clearance, which means they will have to shut down. This has disturbed the powerful lobby of mine owners, who have sought intervention of finance minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy.

 

The finance minister had recently helped stone-polishing units come under a lower slab of Goods and Services Tax (GST). Even a GO had been issued in this regard. This largesse has meant state government will lose a minimum ₹ 100 crore of revenue to the exchequer.

Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, the Banaganapalle assistant director (Mines) maintained that without EC, mine owners will not be allowed to operate their quarries. It is, however, learnt that the finance minister is pressuring officials to allow mine owners to pay royalty on their output, without insisting on environmental clearance for a period of six months until next March.

 

It is quite intriguing how hundreds of mines in Bethamcherla and Banaganapalle areas have continued to function without any environmental clearance all these years. Observers disclose that some of these mines are owned by politicians and their families.

Dealing with women officers is tough: According to official sources, Kurnool and Banaganapalle mining circles contribute around ₹ 200 crore to the government by way of royalties every year. Though operation of these mines is illegal without environmental clearance, officials are forced to look the other way because of the political pressure brought in.

 

It is for the first time that both mining circles in Kurnool district have women officers as assistant directors. They are refusing to permit the mining owners to run their quarries without the EC.

A political leader with considerable influence said, "Appointing women officers in mining department in Kurnool district is a sadistic decision of the minister concerned. We had told ministers (including FM) not to post woman officers, as we have to necessarily use "harsh language" in getting things done. For Rayalaseema culture, “hardcore” officers, who can understand political exigencies are needed. But certainly not women officers", he maintained.

 

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