Plea

HC puts state mining policy in abeyance

CHANDIGARH: Less than two months after the state government came out with the Punjab State Sand and Gravel Mining Policy-2018, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday stayed proceedings on the basis of the scheme and e-notice for auction of mines.

Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 20

Less than two months after the state government came out with the Punjab State Sand and Gravel Mining Policy-2018, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday stayed proceedings on the basis of the scheme and e-notice for auction of mines.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Arun Palli made it clear that any proceedings in furtherance of auction notice dated October 31 and the policy dated October 26 would remain stayed.

The directions came on a petition filed in public interest by senior advocate Gagneshwar Singh Walia against the state government and other respondents for quashing the policy. Directions were also sought for quashing e-auction notice dated October 31.

In the petition filed through counsel Ramanpreet Singh Bara and argued by senior advocate Gurminder Singh, Walia contended that the same would lead to “huge” environmental degradation and plundering of natural resources in the form of minor minerals for profiteering,

Describing minerals as “state-owned resource”, Walia added that these were being given for mining without even demarcation and earmarking of areas. The act was completely illegal and against the law laid down by the High Court as also the Supreme Court as the state was leaving the entire area of one or more districts in the hands of the contractor “to do as he pleases” against the established principles.

Walia submitted that the department was going to conduct the auction without carrying out replenishment study for quarries and the riverbeds; and without even identifying the stretches of the water bodies. This, he contended, was also against the Supreme Court judgment passed in Deepak Kumar’s case.

Terming the auction notification and mining policy “erroneous on the face of it”, he added that the auction in terms of the notice was to be held for whole district such as Ropar and Pathankot. It authorised the contractor carryout mining activity from anywhere in the whole district, whether it was the river bed or the other areas “in connivance with the land mafia”.

The concerns

  • Quarries are being given for mining without even demarcation and earmarking of areas.
  • The state is leaving the entire area of one or more districts in the hands of the contractor “to mine it as he pleases”.
  • The government is going to auction mines without carrying out replenishment study for quarries and riverbeds; and without even identifying the stretches of the water bodies. 

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