SRINAGAR, July 15: State High Court for safety and protection of mining sites in the State has sought personal appearance of Commissioner/ Secretary Industries and Commerce to apprise the Court about the steps and measures taken for these sites.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rashid Ali Dar after perusal of the status report with regard to present position of mining sites in the State observed that Government seems to be unable to inform the Court as to what steps have been taken and are being taken to follow the rules and regulations during extraction of minerals from these sites and directed Commissioner/ Secretary I&C Department to appear in person before the court on next date and inform as to what kind of measures and steps are being taken during extraction of minerals on mining sites.
Counsel representing in the PIL submitted before the Court that the authorities particularly Commissioner/ Secretary Industries and Commerce Department as also Director Geology and Mining have ignored the objective of supervision and inspection of the mining activities in the J&K State which has adversely affected the landscape and has caused heavy loss of lives, property and adversely affected the environment besides polluting air, water and soil.
Court also directed him to apprise it about the safety of mining property as well as implementation of statute and provisions of law governing the field. Court said the report does not reveal the responsibility of the authority with regard to these sites.
Court has pointed out to counsels representing state as well as Central Governments that the situation on part of the authorities showed negligence and the matter is of serious in nature. Court also directed the Commissioner I&C to examine the orders passed previously by the court also and apprise it promptly on next date.
Court had directed the Government to furnish the details to the Court with regard to safety measures taken for the safety of the mines, mine workers and the mining property in the State.
In previous order, the State Government was asked to file the affidavit with regard to implementation of existing safety measures as provided under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act and the Rules.
However after perusal of the affidavit filed by the authorities, court said, it does not disclose the safety measures as was directed but talks of the rules and the laws on the subject.
During the proceedings of the case, Court has been informed that the mining places in the State produces valuable mineral as these sites need to be monitored and saved. Court further directed for providing information with regard to appointments and prescribed qualifications for different mining activities.
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.
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.