HC allows mining auction in five districts of Punjab
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday gave Punjab government the go-ahead for the auction of mining quarries in five districts after following relevant rules and under strict monitoring of the authorities concerned.chandigarh Updated: Dec 15, 2012 00:19 IST
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday gave Punjab government the go-ahead for the auction of mining quarries in five districts after following relevant rules and under strict monitoring of the authorities concerned.
As per the notice issued by the state government on September 7, mining auction was to be carried out in Jalandhar, SAS Nagar, Kapurthala, Ludhiana and Hoshiarpur districts on September 25, 26 and 27.
However, after the high court had observed that prima facie there were discrepancies in the process being adopted by the authorities, the state government had given an undertaking before the court that it had decided to defer the mining auction.
Hearing a bunch of petitions, the division bench comprising justice Rajive Bhalla and justice Rekha Mittal also pulled up the state government for blaming the court for putting a stay on mining, as a result of which prices of mining minerals such as sand and gravel were rising. The bench said it was the state government's own undertaking given in the court that it would not carry out the mining auction till it got prior environmental clearances and the court's endeavour was only to ensure that the state took requisite permissions before carrying out such an exercise for saving environmental degradation.
Appearing for one of the petitioners, advocate Mansur Ali made a request to the court that the state should be directed to carry out proper demarcation of mining sites and also weighing of minerals should be carried out at the spot. On this, the court issued the directions that the state government should carry out proper demarcation of mining quarries and should install electronic weighing machines at the mining spots which would update information on contractor's computer as well as on state mining department's website.
The court also made it clear that the state government cannot put a cap on the minimum price of sale of minerals and it would be upto contractors to fix the same.
On submissions of advocate AR Takkar, counsel for Punjab Pollution Control Board, the court also issued directions to the respective trial courts not to release equipments and vehicles confiscated for use in illegal mining.
The state and district-level mining monitoring committees have also been issued clear cut directions to check illegal mining in the state and to ensure that proper environmental clearances are sought for the same.
The case would now come up for hearing on February 5, 2013.