Jammu, May 07: Environmental Awareness Forum has termed the constitution of four-member committee to examine illegal mining around Tawi river as an “eye-wash”.
Few days back government had constituted a four-member committee for an in-depth examination of alleged illegal mining activities and operations of the stone-crusher units near the Tawi river in violation of court directions.
The committee would be headed by Director, Geology and Mining, O P Bhagat with Director, Finance, Industries and Commerce with the additional charge of the mining department R C Kotwal, In-charge Deputy Director, Geology and Mining, Raj Kumar and Assistant Mining Engineer Romesh Gandotra as members, the order said.
It said the terms and reference of the committee include examining the operation of crusher units near the Tawi river since 2018, looking into the measures taken to curb illegal mining in the river in compliance of a high court order and suggesting measures to curb all malpractices with respect to mining and processing of river bed material.
The committee was also asked to suggest measures for allowing regulated mining and disposal of river bed material to prevent flash flood incidents, examine the allegations made and the representations received about the high-handedness of the department.
Bhushan Parimoo, President Environmental Awareness Forum said that government should constitute high level committee headed by a retired or serving High Court judge.
“Decisions on where to mine, how much and how long, require statutory environment assessment, site-specific topographic, hydrologic, hydraulic information besides sedimentation behaviour of the river,” he said.
He further said that it is important to determine the amount of minor minerals that can be removed from the area without causing undue erosion or degradation, either at the site or at a nearby location, upstream or downstream.