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Extraction of minor minerals from River Tawi: HC modifies ban order
8/16/2022 11:57:25 PM
Early Times Report
JAMMU, Aug 16: The Division Bench of J&K and Ladakh High Court has modified the ban order on extraction of minor minerals along the banks of River Tawi.
In a Public Interest Litigation regarding encroachment of bank of river Tawi, the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Sanjay Dhar in major relief to public at large, modified order dated 17.11.2016 to the extent it provides for blanket ban on extraction of minor minerals from River Tawi and directed that the relevant authorities of the government are at liberty to get the minor minerals extracted from River Tawi subject to strict adherence to the rules of 2016 and the recommendations of the committees.
When the PIL came-up for hearing, DB observed that the District Mineral Officer, Geology and Mining Department, Government of Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu, has filed an application whereby the applicant has sought vacation/modification of order dated 17.11.2016 passed by this Court in the aforementioned PIL. Vide the aforesaid order it was, inter alia, provided that extraction of minor minerals from River Tawi be immediately stopped till further orders.
In the application it has been contended that the blanket ban on extraction of minor minerals from River Tawi, imposed vide the aforesaid order, is causing great hardships to the public at large, inasmuch as, it has led to sky rocketing of costs of minor minerals and its illegal extraction. It has been further submitted that the Government exchequer is being put to huge losses on account of ban on extraction of minor minerals and the continuous deposition of minor minerals in the River Tawi has become a potential threat of submerging of banks of the river in the event of a flood.
The DB after hearing counsel for the parties and the Advocate General appearing for the applicants and going through the record of the case observed that due to ban on mining in River Tawi basin downstream of 4th Tawi bridge the consistent shortage of minor minerals has led to sprouting of a parallel industry of illegal operators who exploit the demand supply matrix and have started free lancing mostly exploiting shoals formed in the Tawi basin for sand and at times for aggregates known 'bajri' in local parlance.
The DB observed that the directions which are relevant to the context are reproduced as under, ") As such, we further direct the State-respondent that insofar as extraction of minor minerals from River Tawi is concerned, it be immediately stopped till further orders.
As regards extraction of minor minerals from other river(s)/nalla(s), Senior Superintendent of Police, Jammu shall deploy manpower around the site(s), wherefrom extraction of minor minerals is undertaken to check illegal extraction and seize such vehicles carrying/transporting extracted minor minerals without permission/challan from the concerned authority. It is made clear here that seized vehicles carrying/transporting extracted minor minerals without permission/challan from the concerned authority, shall not be released by any Court/authority, unless directed by this Court.
Considering the manpower shortage pleaded and to prevent illegal extraction, no extraction be permitted between 6.00 pm to 6.00 am.
—JNF
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