New Delhi: Hitting out at the Rajasthan government for "shutting its eyes" to indiscriminate mining activities in Alwar, the National Green Tribunal has directed it to ban illegal mining of minor minerals in the district and seize all crushers and grinders operating illegally.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar held that indiscriminate mining has adversely affected flora and fauna in Alwar.
"All mining activity of minor minerals in Alwar in relation to the site Tijara, Tapukada and Kishangarh are hereby prohibited. No person shall mechanically or manually carry on any illegal, unauthorised and rampant mining in that area," the bench said while noting that "environment and ecology of that area are threatened with a serious environmental disaster".
It directed the state government to file a comprehensive plan for "restoration, reforestation and reclamation" of the entire area, along with the cost likely to be incurred.
"The records before the tribunal reveal that the illegal, unauthorised and rampant mining going on in the district of Alwar is a matter of serious concern. The extent of illegal mining has adversely affected the ecology and environment of the area and there is definite degradation of the same.
"Indiscriminate and rampant mining has resulted in adversely affecting the tiger life and has also caused serious damage to the health of the people living around those areas because of air pollution," the bench said while posting the matter for further hearing on March 16.
The directions came while perusing a report filed by Alwar's Deputy Conservator of Forests, which stated that rampant mining is going on in an area approximately spanning 2,612.64 hectares of the district.
"This report is an indicator as to the unauthorised and rampant mining going on in that area to which the state authorities have shut their eyes. According to this report, 3,000 to 3,500-kg of explosive is used at one go and 4-inch bore holes are drilled to plant explosives to blast off hillocks and rocks in such a huge quantity that almost 1,000 dumpers, each carrying approximately 45 to 60 tonnes of stone, are loaded and transported to neighboring Haryana within a night," the tribunal noted.
The bench was also informed by the state officials that they have collected Rs 40 lakh as penalty and compensation from various miners and also seized certain vehicles.