The CAG report, which was tabled in the Assembly on Wednesday, disclosed that audit scrutiny of 56 granite leases in selected districts including Ariyalur, Dindigul, Karur, Krishnagiri, Salem and Tirunelveli, and Virudhunagar showed district officers had permitted removal of granite beyond the quantity mentioned in the approved mining plan.
These cases pertain to illegal mining as per the Apex Court’s decision and warranted recovery of cost of minerals. However, “the department did not treat the removals as illegal and continued to collect,” the report said, adding, “this resulted in non-collection of cost of granite amounting to Rs 328.62 crore due to excess mining.” According to the calculation, excess removal of black granite from 14 leases was about 52,000 CU.M and colour granite from 42 leases came to about 2.95 lakh CU M. The CAG audit further said apart from additional removal of granite stones, the authorities also allowed removing of excess rough stone of mining planning in Kancheepuram, Karur and Virudhunagar districts from 47 lessees. “Therefore, the total cost of the rough stone excessively removed amounting to Rs 220.33 crore remained uncollected,” the report said, adding, that the total loss to the government was Rs 548.95 crore.
The CAG report also said when it was brought to the notice of the government, it agreed to introduce a facility to watch, through e-permit system, the quantum of mineral extracted and to stop issue of permit after the quantity approved through mining plan was fully achieved.
Only 4 out of 9 districts updated in online mining tenement registry
Even after 10 years since the Online Mining Tenement Registry System (OMTRS) was launched, Tamil Nadu was yet to implement the scheme fully with only four districts mapped. According to a CAG report in the Assembly, OMTRS, proposed by the Electronic Corporation of Tamil Nadu (ELCOT), was entrusted with the responsibility of developing the system for Rs 36 lakh in Coimbatore, Salem and Tirunelveli. Though the extension of the system to six more districts- Ariyalur, Krishnagiri, Madurai, Tiruchy, Villupuram and Virudhunagar was accorded for Rs 72 lakh in 2012, the ELCOT could not finalise the tender for the first three districts till 2013, which led to cost elevation of Rs 69 lakh. The report further said that after the government granted Rs 63.23 lakh in 2013 for purchase of servers and GIS software, the work was reported to be completed only by March 2016 and that too only in Tiruchy along with the original three districts.