A young IPS officer might have been killed in remote Chambal trying to stop illegal mining, but the mining mafia thrives in chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s own constituency and home district, Sehore.
In spite of a clear recommendation by the district collector of Sehore Sanjay Goel in January, the state mineral resources department has failed to take any action so far to cancel mining lease of a contractor involved in large-scale illegal sand mining on the banks of river Narmada.
In a letter (copy available with HT) written to the secretary of the mineral resources department on January 10, 2012, the district collector mentioned that Hoshangabad-based contractor Shiva Corporation, which had got lease to carry out sand mining in three villages of Nasrullahganj tehsil, had carried out illegally mined ten times that area. Giving details of the extent of illegal mining extent in a tabular form, the collector says in his letter to the state mining department, “Proposal is being made to cancel the agreement of the contractor with the MP State Mining Corporation, to confiscate his security deposit and also to cancel the lease order.”
Secretary, mineral resources department, SK Mishra, however, said he did not receive any such letter from the Sehore collector. He said that according to his knowledge, the matter was sub judice as it was being heard at the sub-divisional magistrate’s court and a showcause notice had been issued to the contractor company and it had sent replied to it.
“There can’t be an ex-party decision in any such case and the other party has to be heard before any decision taken,” Mishra said.
Minister of state for mineral resources Rajendra Shukla did not respond to phone calls or text messages from HT.
The letter of the collector, however, refers to a report of the Nasrullahganj sub-divisional officer to give details of the extent of illegal mining. The contractor Shiva Corporation held mining lease of four hectares each in villages Badgaon, Aabajdeed and Satdev, but it conducted mining on 34 hectares, 47.341 hectares and 5 hectares respectively (area adds up to more than 100 international football fields).
HT could not get through to Shiva Corporation spokespersons at the time of filing the copy.
Congress spokesman Manak Agrawal, who has earlier raised the issue, reiterated allegations that illegal mining of sand worth Rs 700 crore was being carried out on Narmada banks in Sehore district. He said people close to the chief minister were involved in the illegal mining activities, but he has not yet come up with evidence to prove the link.