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Gujarat sets up special task force to check illegal mining

Last Updated: Saturday, January 22, 2011 - 00:03

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat government has
informed the High court that it has formed a special task
force (STF) and grievance redressal committees at state
and district levels to check illegal mining.

Information regarding this was placed in form of an
affidavit before the division bench of Chief Justice S J
Mukhopadhaya and Justice Akil Kureshi, while hearing a public
interest litigation (PIL) against illegal mining in Gir forest
region. The PIL was filed by RTI activist Amit Jethva a few
days before he was shot dead.
The court in its order of December 21 had directed the
Principal Secretary, Mines and Minerals Department, to remain
present and had also ordered government to file an action
taken report (ATR) with regard to the implementation of
Gujarat Mineral (Prevention of Illegal Mining, Transportation
and Storage) Rules, 2005.

Following the order, Principal Secretary Maheshwar
Sahu remained present before the court and the government also
filed an affidavit along with ATR.

According to the affidavit, government has formed a
special task force and grievance redressal committee at state
and district levels through a notification dated January 17.

The government further said it will hold police
personnel, revenue staff and officers of Geology and Mining
department of the concerned area accountable and liable for
negligence, if there was detection of illegal mining
activities in their area.

The state government has further said round the clock
control room has been set up to receive complaints about
illegal mining. Besides, incentive in form of cash award for
informers was also in force.

During previous hearing in December, the court had said
that it was not convinced with the government`s actions to
stop illegal mining in Gir region.
It had further said the law against illegal mining was
there since long but such activities have been rampant in the
Gir region, as stated in its own affidavit filed in the court.

The PIL against illegal mining in Gir forest region was
filed by Jethva a few days before he was shot dead opposite
the High Court on July 20, 2010. After Jethva`s death, the
court had included his younger brother Bhavani and uncle
Vijay Rathod as petitioner in the PIL.

Jethva`s father Bhikalal Jethva had alleged that BJP MP
from Junagadh Dinu Solanki was behind the murder of his
son as he had filed a PIL against illegal mining.

Bhikalal has also filed petition in the High Court
demanding investigation into his son`s death by CBI or any
other independent agency.

The Ahmedabad crime branch, probing Jethva`s murder, has
arrested six persons including Pratap alias Shiva Solanki,
nephew of BJP MP from Junagadh Dinu Solanki.


First Published: Saturday, January 22, 2011 - 00:03
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