An issue against the law

Published: Saturday 30 September 1995

CONTROVERSY surrounds the illegal mining for gems and other precious stones that has been reportedly going on in Vishakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh. According to Renuka Chowdhury, a mem@er of Parliament, the mining scandal - involving nearly Rs 700 crore and jeopardising the lives of the local tribals - has taken place with the connivance of the state government.

The minister for environment and forests Kamal Nath has stated that a high-level team will investigate to check if there was'any violation of the Forest Conservation Act in the reserved forests in and around Vishakhapatnam. While a total of 14 cases of mining were booked by the state forest department and another 2 by the police, all these were compounded by the state government. The environment ministry is now seeking clarifications from the state for the withdrawal of the cases.

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