Garhshankar, September 27
Shivalik Hills, as high as 200 feet, in the Beet area of Garhshankar subdivision are slowly vanishing. The scars inflicted by the mining mafia, which is carrying out its activities in the forests and mountains with impunity, are clearly visible in the subdivision.
Stone crusher operators in villages of Kalewal-Beet, Khuralgarh Sahib and Garhimansowal, along with Mahindpur, Kheda Kalmot, Bhangla, Haripur, Plata and Splanwa of Rupnagar district, have ravaged the green cover due to illegal mining.
The rampant illegal mining has reached to the extent that it is now threatening the very existence of the villages. Even as all this happens, the alarm bells are yet to ring for the Mining Department.
As per the Mining and Geology Department, mining can be done only up to three feet in the delisted area, but the land of Garhshankar sub-division comes under Section 4 and 5 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927, and the Punjab Land Security Act, where no type of mining can be done. Even then, how mining is going on here on the Garhshankar hills adjacent to Roopnagar is beyond one’s comprehension.
There is so much fear of the mining mafia among the people that no one is ready to come forward openly. On the condition of anonymity, some say they did approach the authorities against the illegal mining in the area, but they were attacked by the mafia and faced harassment, forcing them to remain silent on the issue.
People in the area say boundaries of Garhshankar and Rupnagar district aren’t marked, nor are officials of Roopnagar district taking any steps to contain the illegal mining, which is posing an existential threat to Shivalik hills.
Nimisha Mehta, a senior leader in Garshankar, questioned why the AAP government was silent on the complaints of illegal mining, which has reached a record level of 200 feet deep. Not only this, at some places entire hills have been erased by the mining mafia, she claimed. “Despite complaints by residents of Kalewal village, the Mining Department has not done anything. If officials fail to act, I will move court,” she said.
As per the Mining and Geology Department, mining can be done only up to three feet in the delisted area, but the land in Garhshankar subdivision comes under Section 4 and 5 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927, and the Punjab Land Security Act, where no type of mining can be done.
Action after demarcation
The jurisdiction of the said area (Garshankar and Rupnagar) is yet to be finalised. We will get the demarcation of the area done tomorrow, and once it’s done, action will be taken accordingly. — Pawan Kumar, SDO
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