Himachal Shuts Down Stone Crushers On Government Lands

Shimla:Operations of stone crushers using stone mined from government lands has been stopped and the government has decided neither to renew these licenses nor issue fresh ones till the Supreme Court decides on a matter pending with it is adjudicated, top government officials disclosed.

Of the over 300 stone crushers operating in the state, operations in about 65 of them have been seized following a recent decision of the government, said Arun Sharma, state geologist. Crushers using private lands for mining stones remain unaffected, he added.

A High Court order in civil writ petition 1007/2006 had stalled operations in all the stone crushers within the state and only abiding by environmental norms as well as having all necessary sanctions in place were some of them allowed to operate, then.

In response to a state government appeal, the Supreme Court did grant a reprieve by staying the High Courts order, but have not disposed of the petition and the government has decided to await the Supreme Courts final say on the subject, says Sharma.

Sources disclosed that the contention is over ownership of the government lands involved as some of them happen to be common lands whose ownerships vests with village communities.

Most of the crushers whose operations stand affected are in the Damtal area of Kangra and there are others in Una and Hamirpur also.

In another related decision, the government has also decided to do away with handling leases for mining of stones for crushers or free sale of stones for construction purposes and instead would be offering bidding process by open auction, said a department official.

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