Bellary: The saga of illegal mining continues via railways

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Illegal Mining
Bangalore, Jul 2: The railways have become chosen mode of transporting illegal iron ore to ports in Wests and East coast as well as to domestic steel mills.

Despite a Supreme Court order on the Jul 29, the fact that 49 lorries were grabbed from Bellary and 7,448 tonnes of iron ore was being transported in two seperate rakes to JSW Steel in Toranagallu and Janaki Steels in Bellary, proves that railways have been preferred mode of transportation.

The forest department officials on Apr 20 took over a rake at the Yashwanthanagar (YTG) railway for transporting minerals with false permits purportedly issued by the Department of Mines and Geology (DMG).

Sources also believe that the illegal business of transportation was active with the tacit consent of forest, mines and geology department and railway officials.

"Each railway rake carries 3,500 to 3,800 tonnes," said a source from the industry.

"The difficulty is in transporting the ore from the mine to the railway siding. Once loaded on the train, there is no hurdle until it reaches the port. Transporting illegally mined ore by road has many hurdles. Everyone from the forest department, police, mines and geology department, transport department, to the weights and measures department must be paid to reach the destination. Whereas, in the railways, there is no such hurdle, and there is no big list of officials for paying bribes. It"s settled with railway department officials, where the ore is loaded," said insiders from the industry.

Dr UV Singh, IFS officer had attached a report that seconds the Lokayukta report, stating that the information accessed through a guarantor showed that 617 officials were paid bribe of Rs 2.46 crore across the district between Bellary and other ports.

The report also threw light on how the favours allowed way permits, lifting waste dumps, overloading, rendering trip sheets and extraction of ores. Atleast 45,59,365 metric tonnes of iron ore was transported to the ports of Goa, during 2006-2007 and 2010-2011. The report also indicated that atleast 2.98 crore of metric tonne of illegal iron ore amounting to Rs 1, 22,28,14,22,854 has been exported in the same years through various ports.

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