Uttarakhand court bans river mining to make up the loss to environment and people
 Source : News Bharati English  Date : 29-Mar-2017

Dehradun, March 29: As excessive mining has affected the quality life of people Uttarakhand High Court has directed the state government to put a ban for four month ban on mining. The court also has asked the committee to look into various aspects of mining activities.

This means that no fresh lease or prospective license will be issued for the next 120 days. The bench headed by Justices Rajiv Sharma and Sudhanshu Dhulia passed the order on Tuesday while hearing a PIL filed by residents of Ganwa Village Simroli, Bageshwar seeking directions to be passed to impose a complete ban on mining in the hilly state.

The court has directed the powered committee to monitor and find out as to whether mining activity should at all be permitted in the state and chart out suggestions for next five decades. The sum of Rs 50 Lakhs will be released to meet the expenses of the committee which will give its interim report in four months and a final report in nine months, the court said.

The court has also sought ways to make up for the loss to the environment, compensate the affected and recover expenses from defaulters. Illegal mining activity in the area was not only causing harm to the infrastructure but was dangerous to the environment as well, the court added.

"The Himalayan range glaciers, rivers, streams, rivulets, lakes, jungles, forests and air are polluted. Their survival is at stake," the court said.

"Committee is directed to suggest whether mining operations in Uttarakhand be permitted or should be stopped completely or partially, keeping in mind the topography of the hills, the fragile mountains and is likely hazards to the health of citizens. Committee will also examine whether existing mining operations should be permitted as per principle of 'sustainable development', whether mining can be permitted in rivers, streams, rivulets etc. and beyond the height of 3000 ft. from the sea level or the stage of saturation has come," the court said.

The committee will assess the damage caused to the rivers, springs, waterfalls and environment and ecology of Uttarakhand by mining and determine compensation payable to the persons affected by mining activities along with identifying the persons responsible for environmental degradation, the court added.