Stop illegal mining

Taking tough stance, Pollution Control Board has issued strong directions to the Department of Geology and Mining to arrange immediate applying of brakes on unabated illegal mining activities in mineral blocks of rivers, streams , nullahs and the like.
It may be recalled that illegal mining in river blocks etc has assumed alarming proportions in Jammu and Kashmir which could be termed nothing less than a loot and the mafia engaged in these activities , it is widely believed, could not be carried out without explicit and implicit support and connivance from some of those who are legally and morally bound to disallow the same. ‘Excelsior’ has regularly been voicing due concern on this unabated loot of the mineral treasure of our rivers which was fraught with having telling effects on the environment and ecology besides being in gross violation of the clear cut directives from the Supreme court and National Green Tribunal (NGT). Taking a strict stand about 554 blocks in rivers and nullahs without either the environment clearance or even the proper mining plan, the Pollution Control Board has thus appeared to be drilled to ask the Director Geology and Mining to forthwith arrange to stop the mining activities.
Can it be believed that out of a total of 554 mineral river blocks in Jammu and Kashmir , only 15 minor mineral blocks have mandatory environment clearance. What a mess and confusion coupled with ambiguity of all sorts were going on as auctions of blocks were being undertaken in the open, some thorough e-auction mode, whereas Letter of Intent having been issued in scores of so called successful bidders , nearly 224, and other allied activities to ‘facilitate’ the loot of gravel, sand , stones etc from the mineral blocks. We are astonished to find the ‘free for all ‘ syndrome at hard work in Geology and Mining Department that extraction of minor minerals from the ‘auctioned’ blocks has been permitted by the said department without a law or agreement for the same in brazen violation of and dispensing with the consent of the Pollution Control Board giving not even two hoots to concerned rules about pollution control. Side by side the stopping of extraction activities, there should be a high level enquiry into such types of brazen lapses committed knowingly by Geology and Mining Department for which motives could definitely be attributed to the concerned officers under whose nose this all loot facilitating exercise was , as a routine, being undertaken with impunity.
We have been emphasising the ineffectiveness of spate of instructions and circulars followed by reminders issued by higher ups in the administration to ensure compliance of certain directives and rules and procedures unless they were backed up by the penalty clauses . Now that the same has been decided to be applied in the instant case, things are expected to move in the right direction , to start with permits issued should be forthwith rescinded , the revenue payable but not received should be recovered from the mafia jointly or severally from those in the officialdom who facilitated and supported this loot giving it the authorised official colour.