Men, machines fall silent as mining comes to halt
Spot visits by Hindustan Times in some mining areas presented a clear picture. The respective district administrations effected the ban in entirety in almost all the major rivers including Ganga in Haridwar, Yamuna in Dehradun, and Gaula, Kosi and Dabka in Udhamsingh Nagar district of Kumaon area
Dehradun: Mining activities in most parts of Uttarakhand came to a grinding halt a day after High Court banned it Tuesday for four months. However, some reports of mining being carried out in rivers in the hills kept trickling in.
Spot visits by Hindustan Times in some mining areas presented a clear picture. The respective district administrations effected the ban in entirety in almost all the major rivers including Ganga in Haridwar, Yamuna in Dehradun, and Gaula, Kosi and Dabka in Udhamsingh Nagar district of Kumaon area.
The quarrying entry gates of Gaula river at Haldwani and Lalkuan — considered as mining hot spot in Kumaon — remained closed rending all mining activities stopped in river. The police and district administration kept a close watch. Copies of the HC order were pasted on the entry gates.
In Haridwar, no truck or trolley was seen near Ganga though there were reports of scattered mining in seasonal rivers inside forested areas. Reports emanated that forest officials allowed the mining under the grab that that they were yet to receive HC order. Mining went on unabated in Ravasan and Kotawali rivers of Haridwar Forest Division.
“We have not received any order to stop mining activities. So mining is going on. It is not my personal work. Mining is being conducted on behalf of the government and we will stop the work when government authorities give us an order,” said IPS Rawat, divisional forest manager.
Subversion of HC order was also reported from one side of river Alaknanda —falling under Kirtinagar subdivision of Tehri district— even as its other side —faling in Pauri —remained deserted. The Pauri district administration came into the action Tuesday night itself and deployed police force to stop the mining.
Some trucks were seized in the Kirtinagar area. “We were tipped off about few truckers trying to mine from Kileshwar area. A team was immediately dashed to the spot following which fours trucks were seized and all mining activities stopped,” said SDM Kirtinagar Nupur Verma.
Meanwhile, there were reports that migrant labourers engaged in mining works in Kumaon area had started returning to their homes in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. A large number of such labourers were seen in Lalkuan and Haldwani, leaving for their homes after being rendered jobless. It is estimated at around 1.5 lakh labourers are engaged in quarrying activities in the Nainital and US Nagar districts.