SC ban or not, illegal mining continues apace in Aravallis
Despite a Supreme Court ban, the mining mafia continues its operations right under the nose of the district administration and the defence services. An HT team witnessed three dynamite blasts within a half hour span in the endangered Aravalli zone.
The mafia is operating in at least four live mines even as the district administration continues to remain in denial.
"Today (Thursday) itself I constituted a committee headed by the sub-divisional magistrate to look into all Aravalli related violations. I have been told there are no reports of mining in Gurgaon. However, I will look into the matter," TL Satyaprakash, Deputy Commissioner, Gurgaon told HT.
A 50-feet deep lake in Gurgaon's Raisina has dried up in the past six months. Local residents say that the lake was a water recharge zone with clear water in an area where the ground water level is deeper than 1300 feet.
One of the illegal mines is situated just three kilometers from a defence establishment in village Mohammadpur Ahir. Some villagers from here are also known to be in the mining business but officials have not registered any complaints.
Local residents say blasts witnessed by HT are a regular occurrence and stone splinters have often broken windows of neighbouring farmhouses. The illegal mining had slowed down over the last week after HT's report last Thursday. A team of mining officials had visited the area last week after the report was published.
"We are woken up every morning by these blasts that rock the entire Ansal Retreat area. Now they have shifted slightly away but we can still see and hear them ," said Rajesh Vats, president of Ansal Retreat Residents' Welfare Association (ARRWA).
About six months ago, the dumpers had also started using the Ansal Retreat gates for moving out of the village. However, they were stopped by the administration.
About 200-300 dumpers of mined stones are carried out of each mining site every day. Illegal miners from Karak and Bhango villages who operate these pits earn up to Rs 7 to 8 lakh per month, according to the locals.
The villages lie on the borders of Gurgaon and Mewat and authorities often do not take action citing non-clarity of administrative jurisdiction. However, villagers say that the officials often turn a blind eye and allow dumpers to pass. Dumpers are confiscated once in a while only after illegal mining is reported by the media.
(With inputs from Parveen Kumar)