M A I N   N E W S

Centre seeks report on mining in Punjab Shivaliks
Ruchika M. Khanna/TNS

Chandigarh, September 6
Even as the Ropar administration got into action to stop illegal mining going on in the Nurpur Bedi area, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has taken cognisance of the news report published in The Tribune, regarding razing of hillocks in the lower Shivalik range by illegal miners.

Taking a suo motu notice of The Tribune report on illegal mining in Kheda Kamlot and Plata villages of Nurpur Bedi in Ropar, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests will now be issuing a notice to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Punjab, and seek detailed report on illegal mining and levelling of hillocks in the ecologically fragile zone in the villages of Kheda Kamlot and Plata.

A senior official in the regional office of the Ministry of Environment and Forests here said a report had been sought from the Punjab Government on illegal mining, and to ascertain whether the area where illegal mining was being carried out fell under the Forest Conservation Act. “Further action will be taken based on the report sent to us by the Forest Department officials of Punjab,” he said.

The Tribune had highlighted in its news columns today how these miners were plundering the nature by digging into the ecologically fragile lower Shivalik hills, and mining sand and minerals illegally. The news report said a number of construction companies were also indulging in illegal mining here by paying a “royalty” to the illegal miners.

Meanwhile, mining activity in the Nurpur Bedi area came to a halt today. GK Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, said a team of officials led by the General Manager, District Industries Centre and a Sub-Divisional Magistrate had been asked to visit the area and submit a report on the illegal mining operations here. “I have asked the GM, DIC, to take legal recourse and file FIRs against those involved in illegal mining in the area,” he said.

Under the Mines Act, the power to take action against those indulging in unlawful mining rests with the Industries Department of Punjab. When contacted, Principal Secretary, Industries, SS Channy said after coming to know about illegal mining in Nurpur Bedi, he would again ask all Deputy Commissioners to ensure that there was compliance of the new mining policy and illegal mining was stopped.

“We are asking all Deputy Commissioners to submit a monthly report on illegal mining (if any). Further, all DCs have been asked to ensure that sale points are created in all districts and sand and gravel are sold at the rates notified under the new mining policy. We are also seeking the Government of India’s approval to get sand and gravel included in the Essential Commodities Act, so that their prices can be kept under check,” he added.





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