-The Indian Express
The Supreme Court on Friday sought response from the Centre, Rajasthan and Haryana governments on allegations that large scale illegal mining and depletion of forest cover was taking place in the two states.
A Bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar issued notice on an application moved by NGO, Society for Awareness and Development, which alleged that the states were wilfully violating the apex court's earlier directions of March 8, 2005 and February 19, 2010 restraining all types of illegal mining and depletion of forest cover.
The petitioner claimed that on account of the illegal mining, about 16 labourers have died in blasting and other connected activities.
It cited one specific incident of August 25, 2011 in Bhiwani tehsil when six people died and another incident of May 18 this year in which 10 people perished in illegal mining in village Choharpur, where bodies of only three labourers have been recovered so far.
According to the application, the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) had submitted a detailed report on January 4, 2010, about large scale illegal mining in the state but the state government chose to “ignore” such activities.
The CEC had observed that there is massive illegal mining taking place in the reserved forest area falling under Udhanwas village where at several places the hillock has been completely blasted out for the purpose of carrying out illegal mining.
The CEC, in its report, had also emphasised that large scale illegal mining was on account of lack of environment clearance in relation to thousands of mines operating in less than five hectares of land, the application said.
The application also said, “It is learnt that illegal mining is continuing in Alwar district of Rajasthan, with the support and connivance of state machinery, which has not only lead to severe depletion of forest cover but also deaths of number of labourers involved in illegal mining.”
The application also referred to certain similar alleged illegal mining activities in the state of Haryana.
Hence the application urged the apex court to stay all illegal mining activities in the states of Rajasthan and Haryana.
It also wanted stock verification of all stone-crusher units at Alwar, Bhiwani, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Mewat and Mohindergarh and “to immediately dismantle all defaulting, illegally functioning stone-crushers units”.