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Monitor illegal mining in Jaipur district, compensate affected villagers: NGT

By Our Representative 

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the Mines Director, Rajasthan, to monitor illegal mining on a regular basis in several of the villages in Jaipur district, insisting, mining leaseholders should be held answerable for violations and the government’s accountability should be “fixed” in case of environmental violations.
The NGT order comes following years struggle by the Khanan Grast Sangharsh Samiti against illegal mining in Kotputli and nearby areas of the state, following which it filed a petition on environmental violations by mining leaseholders in 2020 in NGT, the Samiti statement said. Earlier, NGT had instructed the Rajasthan Pollution Control Board (RPCB) to inspect the complaints filed by the Samiti and report to the tribunal.
The Samiti statement said, while the RPCB report had had pointed out how that, in spite of the directions by the district collector, the authorities took no action to stop regular blasting and mining up to the minimum depth of 125 ft, it did not take into account impact on water table due to illegal mining, need for compensatory plantation, damage to buildings, especially of schools due to blasting, impact of blasting on human health.
Justice Sheo Kumar Singh and the expert member Arun Kumar Verma in their order said, “We direct the Director of Mines to regularly monitor the illegal sand mining and regulating and enforce the relevant guidelines issued in 2016 and 2020 and also direct to take necessary action.”
It added, “We further direct the collector to report with regard to the damage to the school building and other buildings due to blasting in addition to the distance from the human habitation and further State Pollution Control Board is directed to report with regard to violation of environmental conditions and extent of its compliance and further the damage also.”
At the same time, the order said, there is a need to submit “actual damage caused to the school and human health so that necessary action may be initiated against the violators of law.”
Advocate Rahul Choudhary, who represented the Samiti, told NGT that large vehicles carrying the mining material loaded stones and sand above the allowed limit was causing loss of revenue to the government and also harming the local environment.
The villages that were adversely affected as a result of illegal mining were Shuklavas, Pichni, Pawana, Buchara and Dudhwa located in Kotputli tehsil of Jaipur, Rajasthan district. In all there are 15 mines engaging in mining activity using explosives and deep hole blasting, the Samiti statement said, pointing out, there is use of heavy machinery, leading to “imminent danger to life of the citizens”.

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