Tribune News Service
Dharamsala, August 9
In the past six months, the Kangra police have registered about 1,000 cases against illegal miners and challaned 70,000 vehicles involved in illegal mining operations in the district.
This shows that illegal mining is rampant in the district despite the efforts of the state police.
Kangra SP Sanjeev Gandhi said the number of cases registered by the police showed that there was no political pressure on the police force and the drive against illegal mining was being carried out on a massive scale. The police were doing their best to control illegal mining, he said.
Though the efforts of the police are commendable, the cases registered have not acted as a deterrent for the illegal miners.
Illegal mining in Kangra district is either being carried out near Dharamsala or in the border areas of the district, especially in Nurpur subdivision.
Near Dharamsala, illegal mining of slates from the Dhauladhar hills is being carried out, despite a ban by the Supreme Court on the same. Khaniara village near Dharamsala is famous in the entire region for its slate mines. However, since most of the mining of slates was being carried out in the reserved forest area, the Supreme Court banned slate mining in Khaniara.
However, despite the ban, illegal mining is being carried out. Dumps of slates are being generated and can be seen lying in the open in village.
To add to it, the Mining Department has been compounding the offence of slate mining by issuing M forms to illegal miners, despite the fact that mining of slates amounts to contempt of the Supreme Court orders.
The other major type of illegal mining involves taking out sand and gravel from the river beds. This type is most rampant in Nurpur subdivision of Kangra district along the borders of Punjab.
The illegal mining in the Chaki river along Punjab border is so rampant that it has resulted in damage to the railway bridge and road bridges connecting Pathankot district of Punjab with Kangra district.
The riverbed of the Chaki river has gone down at places due to illegal mining. Many government departments, including the Irrigation and Public Health (IPH) Department, the Industries Department and Indian Air Force, have written to the authorities against illegal mining in the Chaki river.
The state High Court had also banned mining in the Chaki rivulet near the bridges and other infrastructure of national importance.
Residents said the law enforcement authorities should register criminal cases, especially in cases where mining was being carried out in violation of the court orders, to stop the illegal exercise.
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