‘Aravalli: Poor implementation will lead to illegal mining’

May 8th, 2009 - 9:21 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 8 (IANS) The Supreme Court order Friday to continue the ban on mining activities in the Aravalli foothills in Haryana can only materialise if proper implementation by the state machinery is undertaken, the Federation of Indian Mining Industry (FIMI) has said.
The Special Forest Bench, comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justices Arijit Pasayat and S.H. Kapadia, after assessing if the sustainable development framework could be applied in the area, said: “If there is total devastation of Aravallis, then the logical corollary is a total ban on mining activity.”

The apex court continued the ban on mining over nearly 450 square km area in the Aravalli foothills in the Gurgaon, Faridabad and Mewat districts of Haryana.

Following the order, FIMI secretary general R.K. Sharma said illegal mining has been on the rise over the last seven years, and that the order cannot be implemented without the help of the Haryana government.

“When a precious mineral is available in plenty and the ban is not supported with proper implementation by the state machinery, illegal mining is bound to take place,” Sharma told IANS.

“Rising unemployment after the banning of mining also adds to it,” he added.

According to industry sources, illegal mining has been on the rise with the increase in demand due to construction projects and the push for infrastructure development on account of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

However, traders operating ancillary industries in the area denied any such occurrence.

One such trader operating a stone crushing facility in the area told IANS on condition of anonymity that mining of major minerals has stopped completely for the last seven years, leading to the prices of raw material almost doubling.

“Rumours about illegal mining taking place are based on false claims of the media and people who have political motives,” he said.

Mining of “major minerals” like silica, manganese and other metallic and non-metallic ores - available below the water table - in the area only serves to deplete the underground water resources.

In contrast, the “minor minerals” are mined at a depth few metres below the earth’s surface, and largely add to air pollution.

The court will take a decision on letting mining of “minor minerals” continue after the forthcoming summer vacation. Such minerals include sandstone, limestone and other construction materials.

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