‘Declare Chakki rivulet no-mining zone’ : The Tribune India

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‘Declare Chakki rivulet no-mining zone’

Social bodies, environmentalists want High Court to issue directions to state govt

‘Declare Chakki rivulet no-mining zone’

A drone shot of Chakki rivulet shows mechanical machinery engaged in illegal mining in Nurpur area.

Rajiv Mahajan

Nurpur, April 23

A Himachal Pradesh High Court order banning mining on riverbed notwithstanding, the practice goes on unabated in Kangra district’s Nurpur and Indora subdivisions, bordering Punjab.

The illegal mining in Chakki rivulet in Nurpur and the Beas and Chhonchh in Indora has become a cause of concern not only for environmentalists, but also for farming community and locals.

As per guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, the permission is granted only for manual digging of 1 metre of a riverbed. However, JCB and Poclain machines have played havoc by digging 2-5 metre in Chakki, Chhonchh and Beas for extracting minerals.

The frequent use of JCBs and Poclains has changed the riverbed and terraced lands in the area. While the inter-state Chakki railway bridge collapsed a few years ago, the bridge on the national highway is under threat due to illegal mining.

A demand to declare the Chakki area a no-mining zone is gaining momentum.

Local environmentalists and social organisations have sought the High Court’s intervention to save the ecology of the area. They want the court to direct the state government to declare the area a ‘no-mining zone’.

The illegal mining in Chakki rivulet in the Nurpur area is posing a threat to 12 gram panchayats, leaving residents and environmentalists worried. Their agricultural land is turning barren, underground water sources are drying up due to illegal and unscientific mining.

Hoshiar Singh, district president of Bhartiya Kisan Sangh, lamented that several memoranda had been submitted to the administration and successive and present governments against illegal mining in the rivulet by the Sangh, but to no avail.

As per information, the state government had assigned the responsibility to check illegal mining to 36 categories of officials of various departments, but, practically, only police department is keeping tabs on it by imposing heavy fine and seizing mechanical machinery being used in extracting minerals illegally from Chakki, Chhonchh and Beas rivers.

With the Model Code of Conduct in place, police personnel deployed to check the illegal mining activities in the major rivulets have been shifted to pre-poll duty.

The mining authorities have failed to check the menace. Nurpur SP Ashok Ratan says as and when a poll notification is issued, the police personnel will return to their routine duties and that the practice of illegal mining will be dealt with strictly.

#Illegal Mining #Kangra #Nurpur

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