Geology & Mining Deptt must ruminate and act

Can illegal activities of any sort be carried out on a sustained basis without some or the other support from those who are supposed to and paid from the public exchequer for checking and stopping the same? Ordinarily, it is not possible and when there is apparent failure on the part of the concerned Government department, again, on continued basis, enough room is created for nursing due apprehensions and fears with regard to connivance. How can illegal mining and open transportation in trucks and tippers of minor minerals looted from River Tawi take place continuously? Obviously, illegal mining would never be supported by any proper permission, lease, challan and other papers duly issued and authorised by the concerned officials of Geology and Mining Department of the UT of Jammu and Kashmir. We have, through these columns, been voicing our concern over wanton loot of the river wealth by unscrupulous elements and mafia even joined by some from the neighbouring state too and having conveyed fears about some type of ”assured” support to such people involved in mining activities illegally due to which they enjoyed an insulation from any penal action including recovering the cost and other damages from them. No improvement in this respect being visible on the ground vis-a-vis the Geology and Mining Department and other departments, if any, has assumed proportions worth causing concern. Division Bench of the High Court, in this respect, has issued directions for identifying and mentioning the names of the officials of the concerned departments in the FIRs for purposes of taking action against them. The question, however, arises as to why should there be no positioning of police force, reasonably adequate, at identified spots where such illegal mining was taking place or having such mechanism in force by which such deployment could take place whilst actual mining was going on to apprehend the culprits on the spot. We suppose, even to that end, court directions are clear and visible if we go by the order of the Division Bench issued as back as in November 2016. The mafia involved in the illegal act knows fairly well that there were practically no restrictions worth the name except periodic seizure of some vehicles for which otherwise many applications regularly are submitted before the court for releasing them. However, it is a matter of satisfaction that a penalty of Rs.50000 for first time offence is recovered for releasing the seized vehicles, double as much for second time violation and confiscation of the vehicle till completion of the investigation related to the relevant FIR or the proceedings concerning complaints received regarding illegal mining. PILs in respect of illegal mining are related to the fact that such illegal mining was carried out, all from the core river bed of River Tawi which is the glory of and the lifeline for the city of Jammu. The wanton mining was fraught with apparent hazards like disturbing the eco-system and even force the river to change its course. It can also erode its banks and cause floods endangering habitats. The natural replenishments cannot keep pace with wanton, regular and excessive mining. How come the mafia and other unscrupulous elements engaged in this loot have any consideration for these irreversible losses caused by their acts and if some officials of doubtful integrity are hand in glove with the people engaged in illegal mining, they must be proceeded against and exemplary punishment awarded to them. In the meantime, what is required is to have all illegal mining of minor minerals of river Tawi stopped immediately.