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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Illegal mining in Solan: Mining, forest dept officials conduct raid

Arvind Kashyap , Hindustan Times  Solan, September 04, 2013
First Published: 18:50 IST(4/9/2013) | Last Updated: 18:51 IST(4/9/2013)

Blame it on half-hearted approach of officials of the mining department in strictly implementing the policies and programmes of the government or hand in glove with the mining mafia, the failure of the officials concerned of the department in lodging a complaint against the owner of the land for carrying out illegal mining operations at Lavighat village has once again brought its role under scanner.

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The department officials waking up form their deep slumber after the issue was highlighted in the Hindustan Times on Tuesday made a surprise visit at the village and returned to the office after merely completing the formalities of challaning instead of launching lawful action against the illegal mining operations.

Notably, the illegal mining operations  that were being carried out by an industrialist at Lavighat village on around four bighas had damaged the public paths, including other village paths leading to nearby forests.

The industrialist in question had purchased the land after obtaining permission under Section 118 of the HP Land Reforms and Tenancy Act to set up industrial units a few years ago. The industrialist after constructing the building for the purpose did not start the production operations on the site and started the mining operations in violations of the terms and conditions, laid by the government while granting permission under Section 118.

Meanwhile, Solan divisional forest officer (DFO) Prem Mahajan said after the news report, he had asked the range forest officer to visit the site and initiate action in accordance with the law.
He said the officials besides detecting serious environmental violations by the industrialists have also seized some logs of timber that had been stored without any legal documents. The department officials also recovered trunks of axed trees on the site. Mahajan said the after detecting gross environmental violations by the entrepreneur, the department had slapped damaged reports for axing the green trees against him in between 2011 and 2013.

Meanwhile, expressing concern over the lackadaisical approach of officials, Congress spokesman Ajay Singh Chauhan said since the issue was directly related with non-implementation of the government order, the issue would be taken up with the chief minister as certain officials instead of initiating stern and lawful action were choosing the escape route to promote the mafia.

“Since carrying out of unlawful mining operations and axing of green trees on the land in question is a clear violation of law, the department will recommend cancellation of permission granted to him under Section 118 of the Land Reforms and Tenancy Act,” Mahajan said.

District mining officer Sarit Chander said, “We have again challaned the industrialist for illegal mining after visiting the site. The challan was issued for violations a few months ago as the mining operations are completely unlawful but the land owner has not stopped the mining at the site.”

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