In a major drive against illegal mines in the district, the Pune administration has listed 249 quarries as illegal after a review of stone quarries and mines. The review was conducted after measuring the mines following the state government’s directive as multiple cases of illegal mining were coming to the fore.
The state government had asked all collectors in the state to measure the mines and quarries again as the state is losing out on revenue generated from this sector. There are 822 quarries in the district, of which 506 have been cleared by the State Environment Appraisal Committee, 67 are awaiting clearance, while 249 have been declared illegal.
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District collector Saurabh Rao said that they have completed measurement of 715 quarries and will be completing the remaining within a few days. The state had even allowed confiscation of machinery used for illegal mining and quarrying. Revenue minister Eknath Khadse had announced that stringent action would be taken against vehicle owners and the vehicles will also be confiscated.
With the state largely dependent on funds generated from extraction of minor minerals, the district has been given a target of Rs 175 lakh this year as against Rs 150 lakh last year. With the measurement and auctioning from April to October generating Rs 107 lakh, the district has already achieved 61.5 per cent of the target in seven months, the collector said. The remaining amount will, in all likelihood, be collected as the district has 52 more ghats to be auctioned and this is bound to generate more revenue in turn.
Earlier this year, a revenue conference held in the city had stressed on recovery from minor minerals and Pune division was given a target of Rs 487 lakh. Under Pune division, Pune district was given a target of Rs 175 lakh, Satara Rs 95 lakh, Sangli Rs 64 lakh, Solapur Rs 105 lakh and Kolhapur Rs 49 lakh.
While Pune achieved nearly 50 per cent of its target in terms of revenue collection last year, it was 75 per cent for Satara, 82 per cent for Sangli, 141 per cent for Solapur and 94 per cent for Kolhapur, while the average for the division was 79 per cent.