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Port officials under scanner over illegal mining of bauxite

Illegal mining of minerals is rampant in Gujarat. However,the recent exposure of the theft of bauxite worth Rs 4 crore from Porbandar port has stunned the authorities.

Written by Express News Service | Rajkot |
January 28, 2009 1:09:35 am

Illegal mining of minerals is rampant in Gujarat. However,the recent exposure of the theft of bauxite worth Rs 4 crore from Porbandar port has stunned the authorities.

About 10 cases of illegal mining of minerals have been registered at various police stations in Jamnagar,Porbandar and Surendranagar districts in the last two months. However,after the Mines and Minerals department revealed that the mineral was mined and exported illegally to Gulf countries,the police officers do not rule out a nexus among miners,suppliers and customs and port officials.

The Additional Commissioner,Mines and Minerals Department (flying squad),Himanshu Parekh,has registered a complaint against a Mumbai-based export firm and a Gujarat-based supplier for the illegal activity.

According to the case details,Mumbai-based Vitrag Mines and Minerals exported 37,809 tonnes of bauxite from the Porbandar port between January 1 and January 16 to the Gulf.

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The mineral was reportedly supplied to it by Modasa-based miner Jayantilal Patel. The case against these two companies has been registered under Sections 469,468,471,120(b) of IPC and Mines and Minerals Act. However,the role played by other firms in the deal may also come under scanner during the course of investigation.

A survey carried out by the Mines and Minerals Department’s team comprising a geologist had revealed that the bauxite which was exported to Gulf countries was mined illegally.

Sources said the activity was illegal on several counts: the mining was carried out without having lease of the land; royalty was not paid to the state government as the mineral was mined illegally; and forged documents were used to export the mineral.

“An expert team including a geologist of the Mines and Minerals Department has carried out a detailed inquiry into the matter and submitted its report to the police officers. We now only have to verify the facts,” said investigating officer Subhash Raval.

The police said that a department team will soon visit the site at Modasa in the Sabarkantha district.

Besides,the focus of the investigation will be to get copies of various receipts which were submitted at the port and customs offices to get clearance for export.

“A case of negligence can also be filed against the customs and port officials if it is found that the documents were not properly verified,” said Raval.

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