Ranchi, March 1: Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren has given the nod for a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the role of railway officials in the transportation of illegally mined minerals from the state.
The single-member SIT, under retired chief justice of Jharkhand High Court V K Gupta, will submit its report in six months, a statement issued by CM’s secretariat in Ranchi said on Wednesday.
“Approval has been given on the proposal to provide honorarium per month to the chairperson of the SIT commission, travel allowance and other facilities equivalent to the Chief Justice of the High Court and as well as one assistant, one commandant, one computer operator and vehicle facility for the seamless working of the office of the Commission,” the statement added.
On December 14, 2022, Hemant Soren had written a letter to the Union railway minister informing that the state government has decided to set up a high-level inquiry committee to investigate the involvement of railway officials in illegal mining and its transportation and all other pertinent points. Through the letter, the chief minister had urged the Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw to direct the officials of the railways to fully cooperate with this high-level inquiry committee.
“The Jharkhand Minerals (Prevention of illegal Mining, Transportation and Storage) Rules, 2017 have been notified under Section-23 (C) of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act to prevent illegal transportation of minerals in the state. According to Rule-9(1) of the notified rules, the transportation of excavated minerals by rail is also to be done only through the transport challan obtained from the JIMMS portal,” the statement of the CM secretariat informs.
“In this context, several instructions have been issued for transportation of minerals with valid e-challan through the state mines and geology department and various deputy commissioner/district level officials. Despite all these efforts, information is being received from various sources that large quantities of minerals are being transported/dispatched through railways without valid e-Challans” the statement adds.
“In this context, information/data has been sent by the Deputy Commissioner, Dumka regarding transportation of stone chips without permit/challan from railways. The involvement of railway officials is reflected in this irregularity. Therefore, it has been decided to form a one-member SIT to investigate and suggest ways to prevent the role of railway officials in illegal transportation of various minerals within the state,” it adds.