The High Court of Himachal Pradesh has issued notice to the principal secretary, home, principal secretary (industries), director, industries, DC, Solan and Bilaspur, SP, Solan and Bilaspur, district mining officers, Solan and Bilaspur, DFO, Solan, state geologist and the owner of a stone crusher in a matter pertaining to illegal, unscientific and uncontrolled mining and mineral from Luhan Khad.
A division bench comprising chief justice AA Sayed and justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua passed this order on public interest litigation filed by Jog Raj and Tarsem Lal.
The petitioners have alleged blatant, unscrupulous, illegal and unprecedented destruction of flora and fauna, habitat of wildlife and water sources on account of unscientific and uncontrolled exploitation of minor minerals from Luhan Khad as a result of rampant illegal mining being carried out. The petitioners have further alleged that a certain portion of the aforementioned khad falling under Solan and Bilaspur has been granted on lease by the state government for a period of five years in favour of M/s Naina Stone Crushers. The petitioner has alleged that this lease has resulted in highly unscientific, ruthless and unregulated extraction of the minor minerals by M/s Naina Stone Crusher. The excavation and extraction of minerals in the form of stones, sand and gravel are being undertaken day in and day out with heavy earth moving machines. Motorable roads throughout the riverbed have been created to undertake unscientific, consistent and haphazard mining which can also be termed as blatant plunder of resources throughout river beyond the limit of area subject matter of the lease. It has been also alleged that the bridge over Luhan Khad is also in danger due to illegal mining.
The petitioners are highly aggrieved by the illegal mining causing severe damage to the ecology and water resources leading to immense soil erosion and damage to flora and fauna. The petitioners have prayed to take immediate legal action against unscrupulous anti-social elements who are engaged in illegal and unscientific mining in the river Luhan Khad falling under Solan and Bilaspur districts.
The court has directed state geologist to nominate an officer to visit the site and make a report in this regard. If it is found that any illegal mining is being carried out, the court will take appropriate action forthwith. The respondents have been directed to file an affidavit on the next date of hearing. The matter has been adjourned for 19.10.2022.