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4-month mining ban in U'khand: HC

The Uttarakhand High Court on Tuesday put a four-month ban on mining in the state during which no fresh lease or prospective licence for mining can be issued.

The court ordered constitution of a high-powered committee to look into various aspects of mining activities to find out as to whether mining activity should at all be permitted in the state and chart out suggestions for next five decades.

The court ordered that a sum of Rs fifty lakh be released to meet the expenses of the committee which will give its interim report in four months and a final report in nine months.

The court has also sought ways to make up for the loss to the environment, compensate the affected and recover expenses from defaulters.
Hearing a PIL filed by residents of Ganwa Village Simroli, Bageshwar, a division bench of Justices Rajeev Sharma and Shudhanshu Dhulia imposed a complete ban on mining in Uttarakhand.

It was contended in the PIL that illegal mining activity in the area was not only causing harm to the infrastructure but was dangerous to the environment as well.

"The Himalayan range glaciers, rivers, streams, rivulets, lakes, jungles, forests and air are polluted. Their survival is at stake," the court said.
It ordered constitution of the Committee to find out as to whether the mining activity should at all be permitted in the state of Uttarakhand at present and in future.

The court directed that the committee be headed by the Secretary, Environment, Forest and Climate Change or his nominee not below the rank of Additional Secretary as the Chairman. The Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Rajendra Mahajan, and the Commissioner, Kumaon, D.

Sainthil Pandiyan would act as Secretary and Nodal officer of the Committee respectively.

Mahajan and Pandiyan will not be transferred, without leave of the court, to maintain smooth functioning of the Committee.
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