Himachal may ban transportation of construction material to other states to check illegal mining

Shimla/May 20
Himachal Industries department may ban the transportation of construction material to the neighbouring states like Punjab and Haryana as Himachal Pradesh is likely to face shortage of construction material in the coming months.
Officials in the industries department said that Himachal government is also contemplating ban on carrying construction material like sand, stones and other minerals during night hours by commercial vehicles as the checking up of illegal mining in the hill state is proving an uphill task for the state government.
“It is during the night hours when the illegal mining is taking place in whole of the state. We are contemplating a ban on carrying construction material during night hours by the commercial vehicles. We are expecting that this step would help us lot in checking the illegal mining in the state,”an official in Industries Department said.
Official sources said that Industries department may issue orders relating to complete ban on ferrying mining produce from 8 pm till 6 am in the morning.
It is worth mentioning here that almost total ban on sand and gravel mining in Punjab is proving a boon for stone crusher owners in Himachal Pradesh. The demand for sand and gravel from neighbouring states, like Punjab and Haryana, is so high that many of the units in Himachal Pradesh are failing to meet it. The high demand from the neighbouring states has also inflated the prices of sand and stone in the state.
More over the stringent environment protection rules and condition of getting EIA clearance beforeAugust 31 this year as per the High Court’s orders have raised fear among more than 120 stone crusher’s owners of the state. They are also in hurry to mint more money before deadline.
Both factors are leading to illegal mining, especially in the border areas of Himachal. Many stone crusher owners are resorting to illegal mining with the use of JCB machines to cater to the needs of the neighbouring states.
The illegally mined minerals in these districts are being sold to contractors in Punjab at very high margins as stones crushers have been banned there. Bordering districts like Kangra, Solan, Una, and Sirmaur are more prone to illegal mining; the outside contractors are exploiting the situation in view of mining restrictions in the Punjab areas.