Illegal Mining in Shimla: Mining officials take note of complaints, challans and notices issued to offenders
SHIMLA- Taking note of two separate reports of illegal mining in capital Shimla published on Himachal Watcher recently, the Mining Officer Shimla (Rural) Shailza Choudhry took a prompt action and inspected the mentioned locations.
On September 20, 2016, on the basis of information provided by a resident of Barmu, Himachal Watcher (HW) had reported rampant illegal mining activity, felling of green deodar trees, and large scale illegal dumping. About 400 trees were threatened by unscientific, unlawful mining along with increasing risk of landslides. According to the action taken report shared by the Mining Officer, illegal mining and transportation were detected on Sept 24.
A vehicle was nabbed transporting the quarried stone, which was challaned, and notice was issued to the offender, said MO report.
In a separate article published on Sept 26, 2016, HW had reported illegal mining/dumping activity on Mashobra-Bekhalti link road in Shimla being carried out by a private contractor on the name of road repair. Again, the information was provided by an aware resident of Mashobra. Reportedly, grazing fields of cattle as well as natural water resources were covered under illegally dumped debris. Taking note of it, the department inspected the site and detected illegal mining and transportation. On Sept 27, two challans were issued to the vehicles while notices will be sent to the offender.
Action taken was confirmed by Mr. Amit Kashyap, Director, State Industries department.
However, despite this action, reports of illegal mining on Mashobra-Bekhalti road are still coming from sources.
Other Cases of Illegal Mining in Shimla
As per MO’s monthly report, during last month (until Sept 27) 61 cases/challans of illegal mining were detected in various regions of district Shimla. The number was reported highest in regions like Rampur, Kotkhai, Basantpur, Theog, Duttnagar, and Hatkoti.
These are some of the regions, but illegal mining seems to have infested every possible site in capital Shimla as well as in other districts of the State. Although, offenders do not hesitate conducting their unlawful business in broad daylight, but mining and transportation are mostly carried out either during early morning hours or at night.
Forest Department Still Asleep
While the Mining Officials have become active after the State High Court had warned administration of dire consequences if illegal mining activity isn’t curbed in time, the State Forest Department is still hesitating to take note of illegal tree felling and damage to green trees due to large scale dumping despite complaints.
HPPWD’s Intentional Ignorance Toward Illegal Dumping
A large number of tippers of debris is illegally unloaded on National as well as State Highways. Offenders have parted with fear of law and don’t even hesitate to dump it simply on roadsides. On Shimla-Dhalli bypass, heaps of construction waste can be seen partially obstructing the road. Check on illegal dumping is least concern for HPPWD. Rather, department doesn’t even care to remove these dumps.
Web of Illegal Link Roads to Mining Sites
Mining mafia has created a wide web of link roads to connect the mining sites to main roads to facilitate transportation. HPPWD was never unaware of the situation, but, in this case, negligence earned the official a fortune. HPPWD is responsible for putting check on construction of illegal link roads. However, the department is barely co-operating.
The MO Shimla(R) admits that it would be difficult to curb mining menace without dismantling these illegal link roads created by mining mafia specially to facilitate transportation. She has asked HPPWD to identify and act to disable access to mining sites by dismantling such routes. She has also written to the Deputy Commissioner of Shimla regarding the same.
Secondly, patronage of elected MLAs or politicians to mining mafia is clearly making it harder for administration to act against offenders even if honest official try to do so. It was clearly visible in ASP Baddi Gaurav Singh’s case. The officer had challaned a tipper for illegal transportation of quarried material. The tipper belonged to a company owned by Doon MLAs wife. Despite being a headline in media, ASP was slapped with transfer orders within a couple of days of this action. There are other such controversial cases of transfer of officials for being strict on mining mafia.