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Raid takes lid off illegal mica trade

Forest officials today seized two vehicles loaded with illegal mica and bark of Arjun trees at Pachamba in Giridih.


The market value of mica is estimated to be around Rs 5 lakh while that of Arjun trees, which have medicinal value, is around Rs 2 lakh.


The drivers and helpers of both the vehicles (JH 12A 7841 and JH 11B 6257) were arrested. The arrested have been identified as Sudhir Rai, Sukar Murmu, Vinod Rai and Doman Rai.


Acting on an intelligence tip- off, a team of four forest officials led by range officer Sudama Ram raided the two vehicles, which belong to one Madhukar Ram, at 6.30am.


The mica is of refined quality, indicating a rampant illegal trade in the mineral in Giridih.


After the administration had tightened its noose on mica trade and tried to fix royalty, illegal trade of mica has become rampant. Businessmen dealing in the mineral trade claimed that they purchased scrap mica from areas like Tisri, Gawah and Deori region in Giridih while the refined variety was bought from Rajasthan, this recovery proves otherwise.


"The recovery of Rs 5-lakh mica proved that the mineral is being mined on a large scale and in a planned way. The claim of businessmen in this trade has proved to be wrong. They do not only purchase scrap mica from Giridih, but refined ones also.


"They are indulging in illegal mining to avoid the royalty but we will soon crack down on them. Mica business is being conducted on the pretext of unemployment and fear of Naxalites but anything done against the law will not be tolerated," said divisional forest officer (DFO) Akhilesh Sharma.


The businessmen said that since these areas fell under the Naxalite belt, if the practice of mica mining was stopped it would lead to unemployment and Maoist could take advantage of that.


"We have identified 20 mines in forest areas where illegal mica is rampant and will take action against those who sell and purchase mica from these mines. If required, we will close down the mines," said the DFO.


Telegraph / June 15, 2009

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