Heavy machinery being used for illegal mining in Una, Haroli : The Tribune India

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Heavy machinery being used for illegal mining in Una, Haroli

38 out of 50 challans filed in past fortnight from Haroli area

Heavy machinery being used for illegal mining in Una, Haroli

The challans filed by the Mining Department illustrate that excavators and JCB machines were being used for illegal mining in Una and Haroli.



Tribune News Service

Lalit Mohan

Dharamsala, April 3

Illegal mining, levelling of hills and excavation from river beds in Una district have failed to slow down despite mining department imposing fines on offenders.

As per the data collected by The Tribune, in the last fortnight from March 15 to April 1 the Mining Department has filed 50 challans against offenders for levelling of hills and illegal excavation from river beds. Most of these challans have been filed in Haroli area bordering Punjab and Himachal. Out of the 50 challans filed by the mining department, 38 have been filed in Haroli area, 11 in Una and one in the rest of the district.

Petty fines no deterrent

  • In the last 15 of the 21 compoundable offences, the department has imposed a fine of just Rs 3,26,500 for illegal mining
  • The amount is petty as a single tipper of sand or gravel costs between Rs 30,000 and Rs 40,000
  • In an order passed in 2021, the NGT had directed the authorities that a minimum fine of Rs 4 lakh should be imposed in case of use of heavy excavators or tippers in illegal mining
  • However, in each case the fine being imposed by the Mining Department was not even a fraction

The challans filed by the Mining Department illustrate that heavy excavators and JCB machines were being used for illegal mining in Una and Haroli areas. Though the Mining Department has filed challans against the people involved in illegal mining the amounts of fines are petty as compared to the scale of mining. The petty fines being imposed are not acting as deterrent for the offenders.

Sources said that in the last 15 of the 21 compoundable offences, the department has imposed a fine of just Rs 3,26,500 on those involved in illegal mining.

The sources said amount was petty given the fact that a single tipper of sand or gravel costs between Rs 30,000 and Rs 40,000 in the adjoining state. Despite the fact that the NGT had directed the authorities of Una district in an order passed in 2021 that a minimum fine of Rs 4 lakh should be imposed in case of use of heavy excavators or tippers in illegal mining. However, in each case the fine being imposed by the Mining Department was not even a fraction of that.

Mining Officer Una, Neeraj Kant, when asked, said that challans were being filed against those involved in illegal mining as per rules prescribed under the mining policy of the state. In many cases the challans were being sent to court. Every possible action was being taken against those involved in illegal mining.

The sources here said that many influential people were involved in illegal mining in Una district. Interestingly, the Enforcement Directorate had also filed a case against an influential individual involved in illegal mining in this district. The police had also recommended ED probe into money laundering in many cases in which people were involved in illegal mining in Una district. Despite all this, illegal mining was continuing in Una district and ecology of the area was being ravaged.

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The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#Dharamsala #Illegal Mining #Una


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