HC directs for finalization of checklist on safety of mining places

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, Mar 20: The High Court today directed for finalizing the process of formulation of check list and submitting the same by next date before the court so that to ensure the proper safety of mining places and individuals.
The Division Bench of Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Justice D S Thakur today passed the direction after the court has been apprised by the amicus curie to the PIL that check list prepared by the Government has been received by him as also he has prepared the check list.
But, court has been informed that final decision could not be taken in the meeting which is required. Union Counsel was also to provide a check list of safety measures which has not been done.
In addition, court has been further apprised, that Joint Director Geology and Mining Department was to hold a meeting with amicus, Union Counsel with senior officer of the concerned department in order to finalize the check list.
Union Counsel in its report submitted that the rules are in place providing for all safety measures and other allied matters. He has been asked to provide the copy of report to amicus and other parties.
Court while hearing PIL on adverse affects of mining activities across the State due to negligence on part of the authorities had directed for check list so that the same be incorporated in the provisions for regular operation of mining in the State.
Counsel representing in the PIL submitted before the court that the authorities particularly Commissioner Secretary Industries & Commerce Department as also Director Geology & Mining have ignored the objective of supervision and inspection of the mining activities in the J&K State which has adversely affected the landscape of the J&K State and has caused heavy loss of lives, property and has adversely affected the environment besides polluting air, water and soil.
The minerals of the State, as per the Act, are classified as major minerals which include limestone, iron ore manganese ore, bauxite etc and minor minerals like nallah boulders, sand, bajri, clay and building stone, masonary stones etc.
“The State of J&K has vast natural mineral resources throughout the State which include limestone suitable for manufacture of cement, chiseled limestone, fundai limestone, hamam limestone, magnesite deposits in Katra-Panthal area of Jammu province, bauxite deposits of Udhampur district, Gypsum deposits of Doda and Uri Baramulla, Marble deposits in Kupwara district, Granite deposits in Kargil, Kangan, Baramulla, Udhampur and also billion tones of minor minerals like sand, bajri, nalla boulders which are available in river Chenab, Tawi river, river Jhelum and other tributaries besides Karewa deposits of clay in Kashmir Valley million tones of clay extracted for brick kilns, construction of roads and highways as well as railway tracks and other prestigious projects of State and mainly huge quantity of clay is extracted from Anantnag, Budgam and Pulwama districts in Kashmir”, mentioned the PIL
Underscoring the importance of these mineral which are required for developmental works, petitioner submitted that the same time environment and the landscape is required to be maintained while extracting such minerals and no harm and damage is required to be caused to them.
Counsel submitted that the directions be issued to the authorities to appoint sufficient number of managers, assistant managers, mining engineers and assistant mining engineers having requisite qualification.
“All required steps be taken to preserve and maintain deposits and health of mines as also environment, ecology, landscape and habitation around the mines be preserved”, read the PIL
Petitioner prayed that authorities be directed to take effective steps for curtailing, restricting and arresting illegal mining across the State.