Sutrapada leaseholder booked for Rs 5.48 cr illegal mining

After a five-year-long inquiry, the geology and mining department of the state has filed a police complaint against a leaseholder of Sutrapada taluka of Gir Somnath district for allegedly mining limestone worth Rs 5.48 crore illegally.

Ravi Mistry, a geological assistant in the office of the geologist of Gir Somnath district lodged a complaint with Sutrapada police station late on Thursday evening. In the complaint, Mistry stated that Babu Barad, a resident of Chagiya village mined 1.55 lakh tonnes of limestone worth Rs5.48 crore illegally in year 2011.

The complain states that Barad was allotted a lease area of 1.61 hectare in Alidhra village of Sutrapada in 1982 to mine limestone for 20 years. The said mining site was located in Survey No 34/1. But one Ramji Dodiya, a farmer of nearby Sundrapara village filed a complaint with Gujarat Vigilance Commission (GVC) alleging Barad had indulged in illegal mining.

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“Following orders of the vigilance commissioner, local revenue officers and officers of geology and mining department conducted a raid on the mining site in December 2011. During the raid, it was found that no mining had been done on the lease site located on Survey No.34/1. On the other hand, Barad had submitted royalty passes claiming 1.55 lakh tonnes of limestone had been mined. This apparently meant that the mineral was mined from outside the lease area and hence illegal,” said a source in the geology and mining department.

However, Dodiya claims the amount of limestone mined illegally is 200 lakh tonnes and that that politicians are also involved. “Limestone worth Rs100 crore has been mined illegally from Alidhra and nearby villages. Instead of mining from the lease area, the the leaseholder mined limestone from government and grasing land from scores of villages surrounding Alidhra. MLA Govind Parmar, who is a relative of Barad was behind this scam. But now they have filed a case for illegal mining of limestone worth Rs5.5 crore only and made Barad the sacrificial goat to save Parmar’s face in an attempt to give a closure to the issue,” Dodiya said on Friday.

But Parmar, who is sitting BJP MLA from Talala Assembly constituency in Gir Somnath refuted Dodiya’s allegations. “I admit, we used to source limestone from Barad and supply it to companies. But there is nothing illegal. The mining site was abandoned in 1995-96. After years, they conducted the raid. So, it is apparent the officers could not have found mining activity there. The complaint seems to be politically motivated,” th…

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