JAMMU: For all the wrong reasons the department of Geology and Mining is hogging limelight and drawing flak from society regularly for its failure to act against mighty mining cartel resulting in loss worth several crores to government exchequer on monthly basis on account of open loot of grey gold in J&K UT.
The documents in possession of JK Global News clearly show that those running gigantic operation of minor minerals loot considerably enjoy desired clout over the rank and file in the concerned department for hassle free running of their unlawful practices with impunity.
Disclosing information, reliable sources said through series of official communications, Harbans Lal Langeh who was officiating as Joint Director, Jammu was apprised of lease contracts cancellation for grave irregularities committed by several influential contractors of mining block in breach of agreement.
However, “Providing relief to contractors’ flagged red by the field officers, he turned Nelson’s eye toward this serious matter of minor minerals all out plunder by deliberately brushing it under the carpet” alleged sources in G&M Deptt.
The letter bearing No DMO/J/Lease/2021-22/414-15 dated 24/4/2021 has recommended cancellation of lease of Block No 5/2 allotted to Zaheer Choudhary. Similarily, vide letter Nos DMO/J/Lease/2021-22/422-23 dated 24/4/2021, DMO/J/Lease/2021-22/416-17 dated 24/4/2021 and DMO/J/Lease/2021-22/420-21 dated 24/4/2021 has recommended cancellation of lease Block No 5/33, 5/3 and 5/36 allotted to Rahul Choudhary, Vipan Kumar and Rahul Choudhary respectively.
As per the official dossiers these lease owners were extracting minor minerals in breach of clause 12 of Part VIII of lease agreement which includes exceeding the prescribed depth of 1 meter extraction, over charging, irregularities in issuance of bills/challans to vehicles, extracting minerals from unauthorised areas and the monopolizing of trade.
Failure to act against recommendations of field officers who had pointed grave anomalies pertaining to operation of mining lease raises a serious question mark on the working of supervisory officers, who are duty bound to act against the violators, alleged an officer of G&M Deptt preferring anonymity.
Further blaming the officer in question for soft towards violators of lease agreement, the sources allege “Leave aside cancellation of lease contract for operating in violation of laid down terns and condition, the officer never in his career have ever seized a single truck of mining mafia”
Surprisingly, H.L.Langeh despite being a Deputy Director was allowed to officiate as Joint Director, G&M (Jammu) for almost one and half year before being promoted officially as Jt Dir vide GO No: 24-JK (MNG) of 2022 dated 15/7/2022 for obvious reasons.
There are allegations that for creating congenial ecosystem for promoting personal as well as interests of mining cartels juniors were picked up for posting as DMO in explicit violation of GO No IND of 2017 dated 17/02/2017 which clearly endorses only posting of Geologists Grade II and Drillers in grade 5600 as DMO.
The Secretary to the Government, Mining Department Amit Sharma on the proposal of Director G&M, O.P.Bhagat through reference letter bearing No 456/C-Adm/DGM/Prop-DMO/2022-23/2957 dated 7/7/2022 has ordered posting of Sunil Kumar (I/c Geologist Grade III) and Khurshid Ahmad Dar (Chemist) as DMO in Poonch and Kulgam respectively. Both these juniors were posted as DMO vide GO No 22-JK-(MNG)-2022 dated 8/7/2022.
In another surprising move, when the G&M department is all out cribbing shortage of manpower and infrastructure to check plunder of grey gold in UT 11 officers which include 6 DMOs were sent on deputation to Housing and Urban Development Department vide G.O No 888-JK (GAD) of 2022 dated 28/7/2022. The action followed on the proposal prepared by superior officers of G&M Deptt vide reference OM No: GM-MNG/273/2022-04 dated 8/7/2022.
In both the orders the higher authority was kept in dark. Recommending deputation of those officers who thwarted plunder of minor minerals in Jammu much to the annoyance of mining cartels itself exposes the hollow resolve of authority to stop smuggling of mineral minerals, said one officer wishing anonymity.
“This exercise is part of a larger game plan to shunt honest officers who plugged loopholes in the system,” he alleged adding “This also raises eyebrows on tall claims of government to eradicate corruption by ensuring transparency and accountability in working of the government departments”.
Director Geology and Mining, J&K O.P.Bhagat was repeatedly contacted but he didn’t deem it fit to respond.
However, Administrative Secretary, Mining department, Amit Sharma, clarified that the matter brought into his consideration will be examined in detail and revisited if required.