Dharamsala, January 25
The district administration of Kangra has formed a committee under the Indora SDM to probe alleged operations of stone crushers on the Damtal temple land.
The temple is located in Damtal area of Kangra district on the Punjab-Himachal border. The temple having thousands of acres in Indora was under the control of a mahant about 10 years ago. However, after the Supreme Court order, the temple was handed over to the government and its control came under the Deputy Commissioner (DC), Kangra.
- Sources say that some people, who had taken lease of the temple land from the mahant, who was controlling temple before the Supreme Court order handed it over to the state government, have gone in litigation after the administration order to evict them.
- However, most of the stone crushing and illegal mining operations taking place on the temple land were without any permission from the Mining Department. Besides, permissions neither from the pollution or environment departments had been taken.
Sources said that many influential people had taken temple land on lease and were illegally operating stone crushers on it. The temple land, especially close to the Pathankot airport, was prone to illegal mining and many stone crushers were operating there. Illegal mining on temple land along the Pathankot airport was so rampant that even the airport authorities have
complained against it alleging that it was a threat to their establishment.
Kangra DC Nipun Jindal said that as per the mining leases, the temple land cannot be used for operations of stone crushers or mining. A three-member panel has been formed under the SDM, Indora, to probe allegations of operations of illegal stone crushers on the temple land. After report is received a crackdown would be ordered on illegal mining on the temple land, he said.
The sources said that some people, who had taken lease of the temple land from the mahant who was controlling temple before Supreme Court order handed it over to the Himachal government, have gone in litigation after the administration order to evict them. However, most of the stone crushing and illegal mining operations taking place on the temple land were without any permission from the Mining Department. Besides, permissions neither from the pollution or environment departments had been taken.
Though illegal activity on the temple land has been going on for the past many years it is for the first time that the district administration has formed a panel to probe the matter. The sources here said that the authorities had been dithering over the matter as stone crushers were being allegedly controlled by politically influential people.
Interestingly, during the recent visit of Rahul Gandhi in Himachal during the Bharat Jodo Yatra, Congress leader Asha Kumari had expressed concern over the fact that about 12 legislators in the Himachal Assembly had direct interest in mining business.
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