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HC restrains mining activity in Pathankot, Gurdaspur

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Image: Agencies

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday restrained mining activity in the Ravi riverbed in the border districts of Gurdaspur and Pathankot in Punjab.

The direction came during a resumed hearing in a 2012 petition seeking a crackdown against illegal mining in the state.

Senior counsel Arun Gosain, who represents the Central government, said the bench of Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and Justice Arun Palli stayed mining activity in the riverbed of Ravi in Gurdaspur and Pathankot districts.

The written order of the bench is still awaited. In the last hearing early this month, the Border Security Force (BSF) had told the high court that mining activity in the border areas with Pakistan was being carried out round-the-clock.

The sand mining is going on unabated and unchecked in the Ravi river in close proximity to the international border, the BSF report had said. Besides affecting the future course of the river Ravi, it is posing a huge threat to the security of the international border fence.

“The mining/excavation starts before sunrise and goes on till late night, sometimes even whole night,” the BSF report had said.

“Presence of hundreds of labourers, whose antecedents have not been verified by the local police, so close to IB is perceived to be a big security hazard,” the BSF had said.

There have been many drone incursions from Pakistan, where the possibility of dropping contrabands, arms/ammunition at their campsite/vehicles cannot be ruled out, as per the BSF report.

The Army in its reply also mentioned that illegal mining across Ravi adjacent to the international border with Pakistan in Pathankot and Gurdaspur has implications.

“Ditches and gorges, which are formed as a result of illegal mining, facilitate cross-border infiltration. Unplanned and uncontrolled mining may cause changes in the natural water drainage and even change the course of the river, resulting in Army posts being susceptible to flooding,” the Army had said in its reply.

The high court on July 25 had asked various agencies of the Centre and Punjab to apprise whether illegal mining in the border districts poses security threat.

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