Officials need to keep their eyes and ears open to prevent illegal mining: HC
The Madras High Court on Thursday said that a drive down any major highway in the State would reveal large-scale mining operations being undertaken. Rocks and boulders being broken and flattened is a common sight all over the place, it said and insisted upon the need for the mines and minerals department officials to keep their eyes and ears open to prevent illegal mining.
Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D. Audikesavalu made the observations while passing interim orders on a public interest litigation petition alleging illegal mining in Tiruvallur district. The judges said the case before them should not be seen in isolation since allegations were abound regarding illegal quarrying across the State and numerous cases in that regard were pending.
“Indeed, a drive down any major highway in this State would reveal the large-scale mining operations undertaken and rocks and boulders being broken and flattened all over the place. It is necessary that the respondents… keep their eyes and ears open to take immediate appropriate steps in accordance with law to arrest illegal mining wherever or whenever it takes place in the State,” the judges said.
The Bench also reiterated that it would not do for the State to be satisfied with the illegal or impermissible mining activities being stopped. “Any person who has indulged in illegal mining, where illegal mining would be when one operates without a licence or in excess of the terms granted by the licence, the person has to be made to pay. The State must assess the extent of illegal quarrying indulged in by a person and recover the money equivalent thereof together with the imposition of penalty.”
Unless a sense of fear was instilled in persons indulging in wanton illegal mining across the State, the malady might never be arrested, the judges said and requested the State to use the machinery at its command to come down heavily on illegal miners by following the procedure established by law.
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