Chandigarh, October 31
Almost three months after mining in Punjab’s border areas came under the scrutiny of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Government has decided that illegal mining will not be allowed in the kilometer of the world’s territory.
In an affidavit, a copy of which was circulated among the parties concerned today, the Government reiterated that the decision had been taken following concerns expressed by the army and the BSF. The Government added another decision issued in the orders on October 18, which is not to allow the operation of washing plants and stone crushers within 2 km from the international border.
The Government also sought permission from the High Court to carry out mining operations in six areas without objection from the Indian army. It also said that the department is working hard to prevent all kinds of illegal mining and threats to national security due to the mining activities going on in Pathankot and Gurdaspur districts.
He also took into account all the instructions of the military authorities.
The pledge added that nine out of 16 mining/waste sites were environmentally friendly. The clearances were granted by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change/ / Government Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA). Referring to the remaining seven sites, the affidavit said SEIAA’s letter dated October 7 allowed for the disposal of the waste until December 11 under certain conditions.
“Keeping in view the serious concern of the High Court as reflected in its interim orders dated 2nd July, 2nd August and 29th August, the department has decided not to accept/conduct the mining/smelting sites in Pathankot, Gurdaspur and Amritsar districts without prior permission of the High Court,” he added.
The army, following the directions of the High Court to submit a report on the damage to the cells and armories after the mining operations, said that the infrastructure and capacity will be affected.
In an affidavit, Capt Ashima Das, who serves as the “OIC legal cell” in Chandimandir, said: “The mine will affect the structural integrity/capacity of the nearby prisons.”
It was added that the excavation would result in soil erosion, thereby displacing the dwellings and reducing the conservation capacity of “Dhussis”.
Excavation of trenches will change direction and vary in depth in many places, thereby disrupting barrier layouts.
Excavation also affects water drainage and can cause flash flooding. In addition to this, the mine will limit space travel and, therefore, “delay reinforcement and offensive operations”.