MP fined Rs 40 lakh for illegal mining
MANDYA: Mandya MP C S Puttaraju and his stone quarry business, in which his nephews are partners, has come under the scanner with the department of mines and geology slapping a fine of Rs 90 lakh on those carrying on illegal mining in the deemed forest area of Pandavapura.
The department issued a notice to all quarry owners, including Puttaraju and his nephews C Ashok and C Shivakumar, to pay a fine of nearly Rs 40 lakh for continuing to mine after the lease period had lapsed. The remaining Rs 50 lakh was imposed on 16 other quarry owners. A source said all quarry owners have a close nexus with the JD (S) MP and some of them are said to be proxy owners. Ravindra Kallahalli, an RTI activist recently filed a complaint with Karnataka Lokayuktaagainst Puttaraju, alleging illegal stone quarry mining in the deemed forest. Following this, a notice was issued to all stone quarry owners to pay the fine, failing which legal action would be taken against the defaulters.
K M Nagabhushan, a geologist with the de partment, issued notices to all quarry units, including STJ quarry in which Puttaraju and his nephews are partners. Five notices were issued to the unit for mining beyond the lease period of 2013. For STJ unit, Nagabhushan’s calculation said nearly 5,000 tonne of stone was quarried and ferried out of the area after the lease period was over.
Kallahalli had lodged a complaint with the Lokayukta, accusing officials of failing to take legal action against illegal mining being carried out in Baby Hill Amrut Kaval deemed forest area. He said they were being either influenced or threatened by Puttaraju and his henchmen. “It’s a pity that officers issued notices to Puttaraju and his partners to pay a hefty fine, but on the other hand, they are reluctant to stop illegal mining. It shows the double standards of officers as well as Puttaraju’s influence,” Ravindra alleged.