Mining banned in Himachal Pradesh rivers, khuds till September 15 : The Tribune India

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Mining banned in Himachal Pradesh rivers, khuds till September 15

Move to ensure natural replenishment of minerals during monsoon

Mining banned in Himachal Pradesh rivers, khuds till September 15

JCB machines being used in illegal mining seized by the police. File photo



Rajiv Mahajan

Nurpur, July 10

The State Mining Department has imposed a blanket ban on all mining activities in rivers, streams and other water bodies for a period of two-and-a-half months. The order will remain in force until September 15.

Illegal mining is rampant in Nurpur, Indora, Jawali and Fatehpur subdivisions of the lower Kangra, as stone crushers set up near local rivulets and rivers use banned machinery, like JCB machines and Poclains, for extracting minerals from riverbeds in violation of norms. Big trenches have been dug in the riverbeds by the stone crusher owner by using machinery.

As per information, the state government had assigned the responsibility to check illegal mining to 36 categories of officials of various departments. However, practically, only the police department keeps tabs on the practice by imposing heavy fine and seizing the machinery being used in extracting minerals from Chakki, Chhonchh and Beas rivers in the lower Kangra region.

Local environmentalists who have been raising the demand to enforce a ban of using machines in the riverbeds for long are expecting the mining activities to come to a halt at least for the next over two months.

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 on a riverbed. However, JCB and Poclain machines have wreaked havoc by digging 2 to 5 metres for extracting minerals.

Nurpur Mining Officer Neeraj Kant told The Tribune that mining lease holders in the lower Kangra area had been directed to strictly adhere to the ban that will remain in force from July 1 to September 15.

He said the ban had been imposed as per the Sustainable Sand Mining Guidelines-2016 of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

He said the objective of the ban was to replenish minerals (raw material) in the rivers and khuds as these water bodies bring raw material from mountains during the monsoon season.

When asked about the action that could be taken against the habitual offenders, Kant said he would recommend to the state geologist and the Director, Industries Department, the cancellation of mining leases of such persons.

“Strict instructions to stop mining operations have been issued to all stone crusher owners in the area and mining inspectors and assistant mining inspectors have been asked to enforce the ban strictly. Besides, the Kangra District Magistrate, Nurpur SP and SDMs of Nurpur, Indora, Jawali and Fatehpur have also been intimated in this regard,” he said.

#Illegal Mining #Monsoon #Nurpur


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