Bhopal: A forest department report has stirred up the hornet’s nest in the administrative and political corridors of Madhya Pradesh. Close on the heels of Bellary mining scam, the report has raised curtains on a similar racket being operated in the state.

As per the report, submitted by Additional Principal Chief Conservator of forest Jagdish Prasad Sharma to Principal Chief Conservator of forest Ramesh K Dave, the illegal mining of stone and stone slabs was prospering in the Nagod and Unchehra forest ranges of the state.

Moreover, the report also names two ministers, PWD Minister Nagendra Singh Nagod and Minister of State for Mineral Resources Rajendra Shukla in connection with the illegal mining activity.

However, the Ministers have refuted the allegations leveled on them but Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has assured of stringent action against the accused irrespective of their political or administrative position.

Declining the allegations, Shukla said that nothing can be said until the crime is established. “The government is leaving no stone unturned to restrict such illegal activities in the state,” he said.
Echoing similar views, Singh said, “The district administration is busy scrutinizing people who were engaged in illegal mining after my initiative in the Satna district.”

He further added, “Strict actions will be taken against the guilty, even if a person is my close confidant.”
Jagdish Prasad Sharma in his report also alleged a nexus between the forest department officials and illegal miners.

The report also suggests immediate removal of officials from the two forest regions. Moreover, proper checking of gate passes issued to the stone extractors and their vehicles used for transporting the stones has also been suggested.

Meanwhile, the investigating officials have recommended the use of satellite imaginary techniques to monitor the illegal mining in the area.