Anandapur: The state government is losing precious revenue worth several crores, with sand quarries under this tehsil in Keonjhar district remaining closed after expiry of their lease periods.
A status check of the quarries will reveal that the quarries have remained closed as the tehsil officials are yet to get environmental clearance to reopen the quarries.
As a result, the state government is losing revenue worth several crores while illegal sand mining and smuggling have picked up in the area. This has happened due to the alleged apathetic attitude of the tehsil officials.
It has been more than a year that the lease term of the quarries has expired but the authorities are yet to get environmental clearance for these quarries. Miners are illegally excavating sand from these quarries and transporting them to various private and even government construction sites.
Various developmental projects implemented in the area by the government authorities also use the sand mined illegally from these quarries. Illegal sand mining and transportation are mostly carried out during night to avoid getting caught by police and revenue authorities.
Sources said that the Anandapur tehsil authorities seized 117 vehicles illegally transporting sand during a crackdown on illegal sand mining and transportation from April 2021 to January 7, 2022.
The tehsil officials also collected penalties worth Rs 19.30 lakh during the seizure of vehicles. It is said that it has been over a year since the tehsil officials applied for an environmental clearance but it is yet to be sanctioned.
When contacted, Tapan Kumar Nayak, Anandapur tehsildar said that the application for environmental clearance has been submitted in time and the quarries will reopen and start functioning after receiving the clearance.