Transportation of trucks loaded with granite rocks is a common sight across the Anantapur district. Majority of these trucks illegally transport granite to the neighbouring state of Karnataka. Leaders from various political parties who have mining leases occupy Government and forest lands to carry out illegal mining in the district. It is an open secret that the police are hand in glove with the ruling party leaders helping them flout mining and environmental laws.
The illegal mining came to limelight in the year 2015 when a truck illegally carrying granite rammed into the Nanded Express killing four sleeping passengers including Karnataka MLA Venkatesh Naik. The investigation revealed that the truck carrying granite from Agali Mandal in the district did not have proper documents. It was further found that even the mine in question did not have adequate permissions for mining.
During September 2019, Vigilance Department officials seized 8 trucks carrying granite blocks without any legal documents in the Martur region of Prakasam district. Officials of the Commercial Taxes Department in Nellore seized containers transporting granite blocks from Martur–Ballikurava without any permission. In most of these cases, owners of the lorries are closely related to the ruling party MLAs and his/her associates who manage the police and vigilance officials. While, most of the cases go unnoticed only a few cases are recorded, out of which only very few are registered.
Recently, in a shocking incident, Prakasam district police busted a racket and arrested 16 individuals. These people evaded tax worth Rs 86 crore by transporting granite worth Rs. 900 crores by floating 278 fake companies. Though the Government is regularly conducting raids, only a few cases are being filed due to severe political pressure. With no one to keep a check on them, the granite mafias are clearing out the forest lands, exploiting the natural resources causing serious environmental damage. Mafias are cutting into the Government’s revenue causing loss of crores of rupees annually. The Government needs to intervene and constitute a special task force to stop this illegal mining.