In the backdrop of a high court order imposing a four-month ban on mining across Uttarakhand, noted social and rights activist Avadhash Kaushal on Saturday underlined the necessity of riverbed picking and quarrying in the state.
“Riverbed picking and quarrying is necessary as they do not only help prevent floods but also provide the raw material to people living in the hills to construct houses as they have stopped building wooden houses due to non-availability of wood or mud and thatch houses which cannot withstand monsoon rains,” Kaushal told PTI.
If a total ban is imposed on mining in the state which includes riverbed picking and quarrying it will pose a threat to environment by enhancing the possibility of floods and make it impossible for people in hill areas to build pucca houses, he said.
A total ban on mining activities of all sorts will also make it difficult for the BJP to fulfil its promise of pucca houses for all, he said.
Noting that riverbed picking and quarrying is needed for the survival of the people of the state, he said regulated mining in a judicious manner without the use of heavy machines like the JCBs should have been preferred rather than a total ban.
The Uttarakhand High Court recently imposed a total ban on all sorts of mining in the state for the next four months.
A Padmashree awardee, Kaushal runs a prominent NGO in the city named Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra (RLEK).