Dharamsala, July 25
Deep crevices have been created on the Chakki riverbed due to illegal mining on the border of Kangra and Pathankot, posing a threat to bridges on it.
Depth of riverbed has increased
- Crevices on the riverbed near the pillars of the railway bridge can be seen
- The depth of the riverbed has increased drastically beyond the bridge
- Maximum Rs 5 lakh fine has not been imposed in any case of illegal mining
Crevices on the riverbed near the pillars of the railway bridge can be seen. The depth of the riverbed has increased drastically beyond the bridge of the narrow gauge railway line connecting Pathankot with Kangra. The railway authorities have constructed a concrete platform under the pillars of the bridge to save it.
The narrow gauge railway line constructed by the British in 1926 goes from Pathankot to Jogindernagar in Mandi district. It is considered the lifeline of many areas of Kangra district. Earlier also, two pillars of the bridge were threatened due to illegal mining. The old road bridge over the river had collapsed and a new one has been constructed.
Sources say that though the Railways has created a concrete platform under the pillars of the bridge, it is not likely to last long due to deep trenches near it created due to large scale illegal mining downstream of the Chakki.
The district police have collected over Rs 94 lakh as fine in illegal mining cases till June this year. Over 1,540 cases of illegal mining have been registered and 1,514 of them have been compounded and fines imposed. Big money and political patronage are said to be responsible for the unauthorised activity going on with impunity.
The Kangra police had written to the state government to make illegal mining a cognizable offence so that vehicles confiscated are not released without the intervention of courts. However, the government did not made it a cognizable offence but increased fine amounts considerably. The fine has been increased from a maximum of Rs 25,000 to Rs 5 lakh, which has not been imposed in any case of illegal mining in Kangra district till date.
Besides, rampant unauthorised mining is going on in the Beas in Nurpur and Indora areas of Kangra district. Most of the material mined illegally is transported to Punjab for sale.
The National Green Tribunal had directed the state government to ban all stone crushers within 100 metres of rivers. However, the government had moved the Supreme Court against the order.
SP, Kangra, Khushal Sharma says that the police have impounded 17 vehicles involved in illegal mining till July 21. Regularly patrolling is being done in areas along Punjab borders. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur had recently announced Nurpur as a police district. The announcement was based on the fact that rampant illegal mining and drug peddling were taking place in Nurpur.
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