Kangra/ Dharamsala /Palampur (HP), Jan 25 (ANI): In an attempt to preserve the ecological balance in the region, the Himachal Pradesh Government has banned the mining of sand and stones near three major rivers of the state.
State's Irrigation and Public Health Minister, Ravinder Ravi disclosed this on Sunday.
The rivers are Seer in Bilaspur district and Neugal and Chakki in the Kangra valley.
Reportedly, rampant illegal mining near the rivers has eroded the bed levels of the rivers by at least about 30-40 feet in some places, and is threatening adjoining villages.
The government plans to initiate severe action against in illegal miners.
"We banned river mining in three blocks but there are reports that some illegal crushers are still operating. The government and district authorities are planning to take severe action against those involved in illegal mining," said Ravi.
He also informed that none of these sites would be auctioned in future.
Environmentalists have hailed the state government's decision.
"The government ban on river mining is a right step but to maintain this ban, the government has to take strict action against those involved in illegal and unscientific mining so as to preserve our environment," noted Munish Dixit, an environmentalist based in Kangra.
Himachal Pradesh is one of the major supplier of construction material. Tonnes of crushed stones, gravel and sand are among the non-fuel mineral commodities produced in the hilly state. (ANI)