gfiles magazine

April 9, 2012

MP’s new ‘dacoits’

MP’s new ‘dacoits’
The death of IPS officer Narendra Kumar in Morena not only reveals the ugly face of rampant illegal mining in Madhya Pradesh, but also exposes an unholy nexus between politicians and bureaucrats
by Ravindra Dubey
(From Morena, Gwalior and Bhopal)
March 8, 2012. The morning of festivities, the day of Holi. Narendra Kumar, the IPS probationer in Banmore tehsil of Morena in Madhya Pradesh, got a tip-off that a tractor trolley was about to pass from his area carrying illegally mined material. He, along with a couple of his staff members, stationed himself on the route from where the vehicle was to pass. He did not have to wait long. Soon a tractor approached with stones laden in its trolley. He signalled it to stop and boarded it even as it was moving. The driver was reluctant to stop. In the scuffle that ensued, Narendra Kumar fell down. The driver tried to turn the tractor and in the process, its rear wheel crushed the IPS officer who died on the spot. The driver Manoj Gurjar was immediately arrested.
The young IPS officer’s death opened up a pandora’s box in the State. Narendra Kumar’s IAS wife Madhurani Tevatia alleged her husband was brutally murdered by the mining mafia that was active in the area. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, after coming under pressure from all sides, announced a CBI enquiry. Though the debate is still on whether it was a murder or an accident, the incident exposed the nexus between State politicians, policemen and bureaucrats in the mining sector.
The figures about illegal mining in the State are staggering. By a conservative estimate, illegal mining in the last few years was worth a whopping Rs 10,000 crore. According to a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report presented in the MP Vidhan Sabha, the State government lost a revenue of Rs 1,496 crore in 6,906 cases of irregularities related to mining during the financial years between 2005 and 2010. MP also topped the country’s illegal mining list with 24,630 cases during the last six years, of which 23,390 cases were registered in courts.
The CAG report also revealed several lacunae in the State’s mining sector. It said that the MP mining department did not have its own auditing unit and that there was hardly any payment sought from mining leaseholders towards rural infrastructure development. Moreover, the mining tax in districts like Umaria and Shahdol was not even deposited in government accounts. The report went on to say that because of the negligence in collecting royalty on minerals, the State government lost crores of rupees. ......READMORE :

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