Solan, May 11
Four mining zones have been created in the state to effectively enforce mining laws and monitor illegal mining following re-structuring of the Geological Wing of the Industries Department.
The measure aimed at de-centralisation of various works was earlier entrusted to the State Geologist which was causing delay in works.
Since the role of the senior officials was confined to the directorate, how the new arrangement would prove effective remains to be seen.
Questions are, however, being raised at the re-structuring of zones as adjacent districts have been placed under different zones like Zone 1 comprises districts like Shimla, Chamba and Kinnaur which are geographically quite apart.
How illegal mining would be checked by merely creating zones at the headquarter instead of creating regional offices as staff would continue to sit at Shimla, question some officials. A geologist holding the charges of Mandi zone is also holding another charge of mining officer, Shimla, informed another officer.
Zone 1 comprises the districts of Shimla, Chamba and Kinnaur while Zone 2 would include Una, Kangra and Hamirpur districts. In Zone 3, Sirmaur, Solan and Bilaspur districts have been placed while in Zone 4 three districts of Mandi, Kullu and Lahaul and Spiti have been included, according to the notification assessed by The Tribune.
Each zone would have two officials with a team comprising senior officials like State Geologist and assistant geologists and geologists-I, II, III and IV having been placed in each zone. Each district was earlier headed by a mining officer only.
The senior officials will ensure effective checking of illegal mining by the field functionaries besides regulating mining activities and will also ensure operation and registration of stone crushers. The functionaries would also be checked by the senior officials.
Illegal mining is a cause of constant concern, especially in the bordering areas like Baddi, Barotiwala, Nalagarh, Paonta Sahib and in the districts like Una and Kangra. It remains to be seen if the new arrangement would help in curbing this nefarious activity as it was causing loss to the state exchequer, besides over exploitation of the state’s minerals.
It remains to be seen how the new arrangement would help check illegal mining as senior officials are stationed at Shimla and not the field.
Districts in the zones
- Zone 1 Shimla, Chamba and Kinnaur
- Zone 2 Una, Kangra and Hamirpur
- Zone 3 Sirmaur, Solan and Bilaspur
- Zone 4 Mandi, Kullu and Lahaul and Spiti