Illegal mining, indeed : The Tribune India

Illegal mining, indeed

Government’s admission must spur regulatory change

Illegal mining, indeed


HARYANA Home Minister Anil Vij’s admission in the Assembly that the dumper stopped for checking by the slain Tauru DSP on July 19 was indeed headed towards a stone crusher, discounting the police claim that it was being used to transport stone for personal use, is a vindication of the exhaustive reportage by The Tribune on the rampant illegal mining in the Aravalis despite a ban by the Supreme Court. Ground reports from across the state, and even Punjab, also brought out the deep nexus — political patronage to the mining mafia, backed by the complicity of government functionaries — that facilitates the continuation and proliferation of the illegal activities. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s statement should come as no surprise then that the crackdown revealed cases of mismatch between documents and stocks, and that some crusher owners had procured e-transit documents from Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Tripura, no less.

The substantive figures presented by the state government to show its seriousness in checking illegal mining negate its contention that there is no organised illegal mining activity in Haryana, but only stray incidents which are being dealt with strictly as per law. The fact remains that all the measures being taken are falling short, and there is no way that illegal operations on such a scale can escape the radar of the enforcement agencies without collusion at various levels. Dealing with this challenge is the real test.

Construction is an all-season activity, and the demand for sand and stone seldom drops, leading to the temptation to extract more than the licence permits, or in areas where it is not permitted at all. The uproar over the DSP’s killing should spur regulatory change, but it stands very little chance in the absence of a strong political will. A vital activity, as well as a good source of revenue generation conforming to environmental clearances, has been reduced to an exercise synonymous with corruption.

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