‘Quarrying operators duped govt of ₹400 cr, scam bigger than NH’
Negi said that the government must pay proper attention and bring the guilty to book.dehradun Updated: Jan 18, 2018 20:44 IST
Former BJP leader Raghunath Negi on Thursday alleged that 190 quarrying operators have caused a loss of Rs 400 crore to the state exchequer between the years 2009 and 2013.
Negi told reporters that this swindle was a bigger scam than the National Highway 74 land use change scam and the government must pay proper attention and bring the guilty to book. He said quarrying was banned in the rivers following orders of the high court from 2009-2013. The ban was lifted in 2013 and since then this activity was continuously operating, he alleged.
“During this period of ban on quarrying, 190 quarrying operators took permission for stocking quarry material such as sand, gravel, stones. As quarrying was banned in the Uttarakhand rivers, the quarrying stockists showed that they were bringing quarrying materials from other states such as Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh,” he said.
They showed the arrival of stock, but on obtaining information through Right to Information, the arrivals could not be tallied with the receipts at the chowkies of sales tax and forest departments which give out receipts to truck drivers. Negi said 2,000 ‘ravanna’ or challan books of 100 page each were examined and it was found that the arrival of stock was shown fraudulently.
HT tried calling principal secretary (mining) Anand Bardhan but he didn’t respond despite repeated attempts.
Once a confidante of Haridwar parliamentarian Ramesh Pokhriyal, Negi asserted he was not aligned with any BJP politician. The former vice-chairman of Garhwal Madal Vikas Nigam claimed his motive was to bring the corrupt persons to the books.
The former BJP leader said he took this matter to the Uttarakhand Information Commission where Information Commissioner Surendra Singh Rawat on 15 December 2017 instructed the additional secretary mining to personally look into this matter as there was a possibility of large-scale irregularities.
Negi has said after proper investigation, the state can get Rs 400-500 crore of revenue which was not deposited by these 190 quarrying operators.
Darshan Singh Rawat, media coordinator to Chief Minister said that the process of allotment of quarrying permits and stocking of quarrying materials was very transparent in the state. “If the RTI activist has any grievance then proper investigation would be done so that there is no scope for corruption in this domain”, he said.