Despite curbs, illegal mining goes on in Aravalli belt; govt seeks report : The Tribune India

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Despite curbs, illegal mining goes on in Aravalli belt; govt seeks report

Despite curbs, illegal mining goes on in Aravalli belt; govt seeks report

An illegal structure on forest land in Surajkund area of Aravallis.



Tribune News Service

Bijendra Ahlawat

Faridabad, June 9

The state government has sought a regular compliance report on violation of norms regarding illegal mining and unauthorised construction activity that tend to affect the forest cover and greenery in the Aravalli belt. The authorities concerned have also been asked to submit reports about the measures taken for the restoration of the forest cover.

The matter come up at a recent meeting, but directions had already been given regarding the mining of construction material on forest land. In an order passed on a petition in 2022, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had directed the departments concerned to file reports giving information about the complaints received regarding illegal mining and the action taken. The authorities concerned had also been directed not to issue short-term permits for the mining of ordinary clay in the Aravallis. They were told that the permit for the extraction of earth be granted only up to a depth of five feet on private land.

The authorities concerned had also been directed to keep a strict vigil on activities that could result in illegal mining and ensure a check on the activities of the mineral concession holders, if any. The district-level task force will conduct inspection twice a month along with the videography of checking and take legal action against anyone found to be violating norms.

However, sources in the district administration and some individuals advocating the protection of forests claim that despite curbs on the mining of materials under the garb of private construction and unauthorised construction, the norms were still being violated, causing constant damage to the ecology and the environment of the Aravalli belt. “Large-scale construction in the form of farmhouses, marriage gardens and commercial activities have resulted in the depletion of the greenery and forest area in Surajkund and nearby areas,” says Sunil Harsana, a social activist.

Harsana says that encroachments and illegal construction have damaged greenery, leading to a decline in the forest cover. “The district authorities, which had demolished over 9,500 houses of the poor at Khori village in 2021, have failed to take action against 140 unauthorised farmhouses identified in 2018,” says Vishnu Goel, a resident.

Sandeep Singh, a member of the district task force, says while the issue is reviewed regularly, no activity of illegal mining has been reported in the Aravalli belt.

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