Dharamsala, August 27
After the state government banned mining in the Beas river basin, the Mining Department has ordered the closure of 129 stone crushers in the state, majority of them in Kangra district.
Maximum 82 in Kangra district
- 300 stone crushers were active in the state
- 129 of these have been ordered to be shut down
- 82 of these are in Kangra dist, including 56 in Nurpur area
Sources told The Tribune that the Mining Department had ordered closure of 82 stone crushers in Kangra district, most of them in Nurpur subdivision. The number of stone crushers ordered to be closed down in Nurpur subdivision was 56. All these crushers were set up on the Beas riverbed along the Punjab border.
Nineteen stone crushers were closed down in Hamirpur district, eight in Una and 20 in Mandi district. All these were functioning on the riverbeds of the Beas or its tributaries.
Interestingly, there are about 300 stone crushers in the state out of which about 43 per cent (129) are located in the Beas river basin.
After massive damage to public and private property during the recent monsoon, the affected people had blamed the illegal mining by stone crusher owners for their misery.
In Kangra district, the maximum damage was caused due to floods in the Beas river basin downstream the Pong Dam reservoir. Thousands of people had to be evacuated by the Kangra administration with the help of Air Force and the NDRF.
People lost their agriculture land, orchards and houses due to the floods. The people in Indora and Nurpur subdivisions alleged that rivers in their areas got flooded as Beas changed its course due to illegal mining. The people threatened to launch an agitation against the illegal crushers set up in the area.
The closure of about 43 per cent stone crushers is likely to cause shortage of sand and gravel etc.
It is not for the first time that stone crushers have been closed down in the river basins. In 2018, the NGT ordered the closure of all stone crushers operating within 100 metres from the riverbeds.
After that, about 70 per cent stone crushers in the state faced closure. However, the state government moved the Supreme Court against the NGT order and the ban on stone crushers on the riverbeds was lifted.
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