Shimla: In a matter pertaining to illegal, unscientific and uncontrolled mining and mineral from Luhan Khad, the Himachal Pradesh High Court on Thursday issued notice to the Principal Secretary (Industries).

Court has also issued notice to the Principal Secretary (Home), Director Industries, DC Solan and Bilaspur, SP Solan and Bilaspur, District Mining Officers Solan and Bilaspur, DFO Solan, State Geologist and private respondent Naina Stone Crusher.

The orders have been passed by a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice, A.A. Sayed and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua, on a Public Interest Litigation filed by Jog Raj and Tarsem Lal.

The petitioners have alleged blatant, unscrupulous, illegal and unprecedented destruction of flora and fauna, habitat of wildlife and the water sources on account of highly unscientific and uncontrolled exploitation of minor minerals from Luhan Khad as a result of rampant illegal mining being carried out.

The petitioners have further alleged that a certain portion of the khad falling under district Solan and Bilaspur has been granted on lease by the state government for a period of five years in favour of Naina Stone Crushers. The petitioner has alleged that this lease has resulted in highly unscientific, ruthless and unregulated extraction of the minor minerals by M/s Naina Stone Crusher.

“The excavation and extraction of minerals in the form of stones, sand and gravel is being undertaken day in and day out with heavy earth moving machines. Motorable roads throughout the river bed have been created to undertake un-scientific, consistent and haphazard mining which can also be termed as blatant plunder of resources throughout river beyond the limit of area subject matter of lease” alleged the petitioners.

It has been also alleged that the bridge over Luhan khad is also in danger due to illegal mining.

The petitioners have prayed to take immediate legal action against unscrupulous anti-social elements who are engaged in illegal and unscientific mining in Luhan khad.

The Court has directed State Geologist to nominate an officer to visit the site and make a report in this regard.

“If it is found that any illegal mining is being carried out, the Court will take appropriate action forthwith,” said the court.

The respondents have been directed to file an affidavit on the next date of hearing. The matter has been adjourned for October 19.

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Navneet Rathore is a Shimla based journalist having two-years of experience in the field of journalism. Navneet is a post-graduate in Journalism and Mass Communications from Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla and is specialised in crime, education, health, environment, agriculture and Horticulture beats.