JORABAT, Aug 25 - A limestone syndicate, believed to be one of the biggest of its kind after coal, is allegedly running on the outskirts of Guwahati city, thanks to a nexus between a section of government officials and mafia, causing huge losses to the government exchequer.
This afternoon, based on a tip-off, a local organisation named Greater Dimoria Youth Welfare Association (GDYWA), stopped two trucks and as per the weigh-in slip with the driver of one of the trucks, the vehicle was transporting 46 MT of limestone, whereas the challan showed 15 MT as the permissible load. As per the drivers, the trucks (ML 10B 7229 and ML 10B 7230) were heading towards a cement plant in 14th Mile area.
GDYWA carried out the drive after several complaints came from the locals over the deteriorating condition of the village road by the limestone-laden trucks. The trucks were later handed over to Sonapur police.
According to sources, at present 50 to 80 limestone-laden trucks from Meghalaya, carrying the stuff far above the permitted weight, are entering Assam through Byrnihat every day to meet the demands of cement factories flourishing in and around Jorabat.
The permissible quantity of limestones as per the challans issued by the Meghalaya forest department, is 15 metric tonnes (MT) per truck, but the trucks carrying limestones from Meghalaya to Assam reportedly carry 40 to 45 MT each. And they are able to do so by �managing� corrupt officials, it is alleged.
Sources informed that the cement plants stock up limestone in huge quantities for future use.
It may be mentioned that the department liable for checking the legality of the limestone and its transportation in Assam is the Directorate of Geology & Mining, while the transport department checks whether the weight of the transported stuff is within the permissible limit or not.
However, the big disparity between the officially permitted weight of the limestone for each truck and the quantity actually transported by the truck points to a flourishing syndicate.