Semi-precious stones mining resumes

Semi-precious stones mining resumes
Highlights

After a long gap, illegal mining of semi-precious stones resumed in Visakhapatnam Agency area. Reports said mining began in Chintapalle, Chedalapadu, Siganapalli, Raju Gummala forest areas under Chintapalli mandal two weeks ago.

Visakhapatnam: After a long gap, illegal mining of semi-precious stones resumed in Visakhapatnam Agency area. Reports said mining began in Chintapalle, Chedalapadu, Siganapalli, Raju Gummala forest areas under Chintapalli mandal two weeks ago.

Highlights:

  • Investors from various places hired tribal labourers who have experience in identifying the potential areas and digging
  • Agents and traders are camping in the Agency villages maintaining low-key operations
  • Raids are conducted by the rural police with the help of mining department but only tribals are taken into custody while traders are allowed to go scot free

Investors from various places concentrated on these areas and hired tribal labourers who have experience in identifying the potential areas and digging. Agents and traders are camping in the Agency villages maintaining low-key operations.

They tied up with local agents to avoid detection.Some raids were conducted by the rural police with the help of
mining department but only tribals were taken into custody while the traders were allowed to go scot free.

During the construction of a road at Chedalapadu village with MNREGA funds some stones surfaced. The workers lost no time
and sold the uncut stones to the local agents and continued their work. It became a hot topic of discussion in the village.

However, the recent discovery might have benefited some tribals but but four of them lost their lives when the mine caved in
on them at Singampalle village recently. The mining since then abruptly stopped and the bodies were secretly buried to avoid police inquiry.

The police said there has been no activity since Friday be due to the accident. The villagers alleged that the mining
department and police never made any effort to curb the mining activity.

Devarapalle MPTC and general secretary of Girijan Samakya Mottadam Rajababu said illegal mining has been going on in the Agency and alleged that traders from plain areas are exploiting the innocent tribals by giving meagre money.

“I lodged several complaints with the police and forest department officials but no action was initiated so far,’’ Rajababu told this correspondent. Assistant director of Mines and Geology Ch Surya Chandra Rao said a team has been sent there a month ago and the forest officials covered the pits with broken glasses so that the workers would hesitate to resume digging.

“We cannot identify the people to file cases, hence, covered the pits,’’ the AD said and added that the police informed to keep a tab on the mining. Local police said that it was difficult to catch them red-handed since most of the digging takes place after midnight and in darkness. Most semi-precious stones found in Chintapalle area are cat eye, emerald, sapphire and kunzite.

The large-scale mining was stopped in Karaka under Narsipatnam area 10 years ago after the police, revenue and forest officials formed into a coordination team and fenced some important areas.

By Jatlee Dontala

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