Uttarakhand to have new mining policy soon, say state officials
By Express News Service
DEHRADUN: A few state officials, on Saturday, said Uttarakhand is likely to formulate a new mining police soon.
State Chief Secretary SS Sandhu said, “for the first time, suggestions have been invited from the stakeholders to formulate ‘User Friendly’ policy for mining”.
He further added that the new policy is likely to increase the revenue of Rs 500-1000 crore.
Meanwhile, environmentalists, activists have objected to this suggestions alleging indiscriminate mining already being practiced in the hill state.
Dushyant Mainali, a practising advocate who has been pursuing multiple petitions including public interest litigations said, “the negative impact of illegal sand mining far outweighs the economic benefits. The perception that sand and boulders are useless and rivers have a lot of sand is incorrect, because they are crucial for the sustained existence of the river and perform many functions. It remains to be seen what this policy holds for the state.”
Incidents of landslides and loss of lives due to such incidents have increased exponentially in last few years in Uttarakhand.
The data from Uttarakhand State Disaster Managment department reveals that landslide incidents registered whopping 2900 per cent increase from year 2015 to year 2020.
Uttarakhand has lost about 50,000 hectares of its forests to ‘developmental activities’ in the past 20 years, revealed data by the state forest department last year.
Interestingly, the top six activities for which around 21,207 hectares of forest land in the state has been include mining, hydropower plants, road construction, power distribution lines, water pipelines and irrigation.
According to the data, the highest amount of forest cover has been lost to mining (8760 ha) followed by road construction (7539 ha), power distribution lines (2332 ha) and hydropower plant projects (2295 ha).
Uttarakhand’s forest cover is spread over around 38,000 sq km, which is 71 per cent of the state’s geographical area with flora of variety of species including atleast 112 species of trees, 73 species of shrubs and 94 species of herbs,.