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Illegal mining can trigger disaster

MUSSOORIE:Illegal stone mining is continuing unabated in the Jaunpur development region, causing ugly scars on mountains that have become loose due to digging.

Ajay Ramola

Tribune News Service

Mussoorie, March 6

Illegal stone mining is continuing unabated in the Jaunpur development region, causing ugly scars on mountains that have become loose due to digging. This can lead to another natural disaster, if illegal mining is not stopped immediately. 

People involved in illegal mining can be seen transporting stones, rocks and other construction materials on utility loaders day and night from the Kempty region of the Jaunpur development block in Tehri Garhwal district.

The Kempty-Yamunotri bypass looks like a mining zone with both roadsides excavated for stones and other natural material that are used in construction. The Mussoorie police had impounded two utility vehicles laden with illegally mined material a few days ago. However, the mining and building mafia active in the Mussoorie area is continuing with their illegal activities unhindered. They transport the mined material to Vikasnagar, especially during the night.

A local resident says the mining mafia is drilling into mountains for limestone, slate and other valuable mineral resources without paying any royalty to the government, thus causing revenue loss to the exchequer. This is happening in connivance with forest and mining department officials.

Another resident, Mijan Singh, says the Eco-Task Force had planted several thousand trees around the Kempty and Thatyur region and succeeded in greening the area to a good extent but all efforts had gone waste due to illegal mining.

Most of the illegal mining activity is happening on the Dhar Gaon-Kempty road, Kempty-Thatyur road and near Talogi village. Those involved in this illegal activity have no respect for the flora and fauna that is getting destroyed due to the use of JCB machines. However, the administration is yet to act against them. Illegal miners have also dug up the Aglar riverbed in the Thatyur region for sand. 

The demand for illegal mined material has increased locally with increase in construction activities that too is going on without official permission. Vikram Panwar, another local resident, says illegal mining has left gaping holes in hills on roadsides. This has loosened rocks and rendered hills vulnerable to landslides. Incidents of landslides and boulders falling on the road could increase during the monsoon due to the ongoing unscientific mining, he adds. Dhanaulti Naib Tehsildar SP Uniyal expressed his ignorance about the matter. However, he said two utility vehicles laden with illegal mined material were impounded at Papra Khala, near Thatyur, on the orders of the Dhanaulti SDM. A case has been registered against the vehicle owners under various sections of the Mining Act, added Uniyal. Dhanaulti SDM Laxmiraj Chauhan said he would look into the matter and do the needful.

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