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The Supreme Court today came down upon the Rajasthan government over the issue of illegal mining in Aravalli hills stating that the State is taking the issue lightly.
The order to that effect was passed by a Bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta.
The Court adverted to a status report submitted by the Rajasthan government which, according to the court, did not offer any clarity on whether illegal mining over 115.34 hectares has been stopped or not.
The Court, therefore, ordered the Chief Secretary of the State to ensure that illegal mining in the said 115.34 hectares be stopped with immediate effect.
“The State of Rajasthan has filed the Status Report on 10th September, 2018. There is no clarity on the question whether this illegal mining over 115.34 hectares has been stopped or not. We direct the Chief Secretary to ensure that the illegal mining over 115.34 hectares as per Annexure RA/14 to the Status Report is stopped within 48 hours.”
The Chief Secretary has to file an affidavit in compliance with the above direction.
The Court then proceeded to berate the State government stating that it has been compelled to pass this order since it appeared from the status report that the State has been taking the issue very lightly.
“We are compelled to pass an order of this nature in view of the fact that it appears from a reading of the Status Report that the entire issue of mining in the Aravalli Hills has been taken very lightly by the State of Rajasthan.”
The Court also stated in its order that the State of Rajasthan had noted the Report of the CEC which states that out of 128 samples taken by the Forest Survey of India, as many as 31 hills/hillocks have vanished. This has not been denied by the State of Rajasthan in the Status Report. This is an indication of lack of concern shown by the State of Rajasthan which is a little unfortunate, the Court stated.
Interestingly, the Court was also not impressed by the allegations made by the Rajasthan government against the Forest Survey of India.
“We have gone through the Status Report, but are not at all satisfied with the contents, most of which deal with the so-called inefficiency or incompetence of the Forest Survey of India.”
The Forest Survey of India is a Government of India Organization and is a premier body in respect of forest survey and it is not proper to make unsubstantiated allegations against such a body, the Court made it clear.
The case is now listed for hearing on October 29.
Read the order below.