FOREST DEPARTMENT has sought powers to shoot illegal miners and weapons to deal with the powerful mafia mining stone and sand in the Gwalior-Chambal division.
The department feels it is inadequately equipped to deal with these mafia, who are conducting their activities with impunity in the forests of Gwalior, Morena and Shivpuri in brazen violation of the Conservation of Forests Act.
According to the Forest Department officials there is a shortage of field staff and are totally at the mercy of the mafia while patrolling bare-handed. The department has sent a proposal to the higher officials in Bhopal in this regard.
Gwalior Conservator of Forest J P Narayanan said the mafia were looting and destroying precious forest reserves and the department personnel should be given power to shoot illegal miners, like the police, who could shoot dacoits in encounters.
Attack on forest officials by illegal miners have become commonplace and many such cases have been reported in recent months. In Gwalior and Shivpuri, the mafia was running a large number of illegal stone quarries. Similarly, in Morena
district, illegal sand mining continues unabated.
The Gwalior bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court, comprising Justices A Gohil and P K Jayaswal, while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) has already issued an order to stop sand mining in Chambal Gharial Sanctuary and its surrounding area. The HC has directed the district Collectors of Gwalior and Morena to implement the order.