Palampur, April 4
There is no let up in illegal mining in the Neugal river in the Thural area. Villagers recently held a protest and seized JCB machines and tippers from an illegal mining site at midnight but the authorities concerned failed to take any action against the mafia. The police and the Mining Department have not even registered a case under the HP Mining Act or the IPC against the culprits.
On the directions of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the government had imposed a complete ban on mining in the Neugal, which is a major source of drinking water in the region.
The government has already cancelled various lease permits for mining in the river. No new mining sites have been auctioned so far. Still, large-scale illegal mining is going on unchecked day and night, resulting in environmental degradation.
Villagers, in a complaint on the helpline of the Chief Minister, said that illegal mining is not only creating environmental imbalance but also causing huge losses to the exchequer, as the state is losing royalty to the tune of several crores of rupees every year.
Seema and Sat Pal, panchayat pradhan and up-pradhan, respectively, of Bathan panchayat in Thural, have launched a campaign against illegal mining. They say that unscientific mining has also resulted in deforestation, landslides and flash floods. Over 25,000 hectares have been affected by the illegal activity in Sulaha and Jaisinghpur subdivisions, resulting in drastic reshaping of the landscape.
They say that illegal mining is also posing a serious threat to irrigation and drinking water supply schemes, local paths, village roads, bridges and cremation grounds.
- On the directions of the NGT, the government had imposed a ban on mining in the Neugal
- The government has cancelled various lease permits for mining in the river
- No new mining sites have been auctioned so far
- Still, large-scale illegal mining is going on resulting in environmental degradation