The Uttarakhand high court, on Thursday, stayed the state government’s decision of cancelling mining leases or licences in Dehradun, Udham Singh Nagar, Nainital and Haridwar districts. A petition filed by a company involved in the business from Ramnagar in Nainital district after the state government had on May 1, 2017 ordered cancellation of mining leases or licences.
On March 28 this year, taking a strict stand against alleged illegal mining the state government had ordered “complete ban on mining activities including forest areas, rivers, rivulets and streams in Uttarakhand” till the submission of a report by a ‘high powered committee’ which the HC had directed the government to form while hearing a PIL in Bageshwar district.
But the order was stayed by the Supreme Court on April 10, 2017. The state government had then moved a special leave petition in the apex court stating that the ban will affect the livelihoods of several thousands and lead to loss of revenue for the state.
The SC’s order dated April 10, 2017 stated, “In the meantime, the operation of the impugned order shall remain stayed.” The petition was heard by the bench of Chief Justice JS Kehar, Justices DY Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul.
Meanwhile, the HC also issued contempt notices to various key officials of the state government in a matter related to illegal mining in the river Ganga. Notices were issued by the HC to chief secretary S Ramasvami, industrial secretary Shailesh Bagoli and district magistrate of Haridwar. The order following a petition filed by a resident alleging that the state government officials failed to abide by the previous court order regarding illegal mining in the holy river.
Dayanand, the petitioner who is a resident of Haridwar, said, “Orders by the honorable HC regarding illegal mining in Ganga were not implemented by the authorities. The HC took cognizance of my petition and issued notices.”
The petitioner also alleged that the court’s order to stop mining from Raiwala to Bhogpur area in Haridwar district and shutting down of stone crushing plants within a radius of five kilometers of Ganga was also not followed.