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No heed to SC advice,auction slated for quarries in Aravallis

Despite recommendations from the SC-appointed Central Empowered Committee to declare the Aravalli range in Faridabad district as a prohibited zone for the mining of major minerals...

Despite recommendations from the SC-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) to declare the Aravalli range in Faridabad district as a prohibited zone for the mining of major minerals,as well as revoke all existing mining leases in the district,the Director,Mining and Geology,Haryana,has invited parties for auction of quarries in both these villages.

The decision also comes in the face of a hydro-geological report submitted by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWA) that has found that extensive mining activities in Sirohi and Khori Jamalpur villages in the Aravallis has led to an “ecological disaster” resulting in lowering of the water table in the area.

When asked about the SC-appointed committee’s recommendations for a complete ban on mining in the Aravalli foothills,Y S Mallik,Haryana Industry Secretary said: “Auction is not renewal. There is a legal obligation on the lessee to take care of the environmental aspect of the area. However,the region is a legally operable mining area outside the forest area.”

A public notice issued on February 17 mentions that the auction will take place on March 3,in which 60.4 hectare in Khori Jamalpur and 49.37 hectare in Sirohi will be put up for bidders. The lease is valid till March 31,2011.

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The reserve price for Khori is set at Rs 11 crore and that of Sirohi at Rs 90 lakh.

According to Arun Kumar,Director,Mining and Geology,the areas under auction fall in the existing mining areas. “Anyone can apply for these quarries. Calculating from past production levels,we have fixed the lease for two years,during which excavation will be permitted only till the ground level,” said Kumar.

Revenue office estimates that around 1,000 hectare of forest land have been adversely affected in the districts of Faridabad,Gurgaon and Mewat due to over-exploitation. This includes the actual mining sites,forests destroyed for setting up dwelling units for labourers and land where mining waste has been dumped.

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Ravikant,an advocate with Shakti Vahini added: “The cost of bringing raw material from neighbouring states has only increased by Rs 2 to 3 per tonne. The state government should have conducted a study on the ecological impact. We will file an application with the CEC and the Chandigarh HC to oppose the auction.”

First published on: 21-02-2009 at 12:16:39 am
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