Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Illegal mining: After HC rap, govt orders to form panels

Illegal mining: After HC rap, govt orders to form panels
Indian Express

Move based on a PIL filed by Amit Jethava days before his murder in July last year

The state government has recently issued a notification to constitute grievance redressal committees at state, district and taluka levels to look into the complaints regarding illegal mining and transportation in Gujarat.

The notification, issued on January 17, comes following an order of the Gujarat High Court with reference to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by RTI and environment activist Amit Jethava. The PIL had sought directions to the authorities to check the illegal mining activities going on in the periphery of Gir sanctuary.

In the PIL, Jethava, who was shot dead in front of the HC a few days after the filing of the petition, had named BJP Junagadh MP Dinu Solanki as the person at whose behest the illegal activity had been going on.

Acting on the PIL, a Division Bench had last month expressed dissatisfaction over the attempts on the part of the government to prevent illegal mining. "...There is nothing on record to suggest that the state has fixed any responsibility and accountability on anyone or other officer...No grievance redressal committee has been constituted for the local people who may bring illegal mining to the notice of the authorities," the court had observed.

The HC had then ordered the principal secretary of the state mines and minerals department to appear before it on Friday to discuss the matter in detail. Today, when Principal Secretary M Sahu appeared before the court, the latter stated that the purpose of calling him was to make the government realise the gravity of the situation.

Meanwhile, the government pleader had placed an affidavit before the court regarding the steps taken by the government so far. The affidavit stated that the government has issued the notification to form grievance redressal committees, and and a resolution was issued in this regard on January 17.

According to the resolution, the state-level panel would be headed by the chief secretary whereas the district and taluka level committees would be headed by the respective district collectors and prant officers.

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