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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 8, 2007
Himalayan region faces threat from illegal mining, warn environmentalists
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Himalayan region faces threat from illegal mining, warn environmentalists

Most of the Himalayan region, which includes Himachal Pradesh, is headed for a huge natural disaster due to rampant mining on riverbeds, some environmentalists have warned.

Khare (Himachal Pradesh), May 8 : Most of the Himalayan region, which includes Himachal Pradesh, is headed for a huge natural disaster due to rampant mining on riverbeds, some environmentalists have warned.

Despite a ban on mining, it continues unabated on the riverbeds in Himachal Pradesh, forcing rivers to change their course.

The building lobby, say the environmentalists, is the main culprit contributing to nature's degradation.

"The companies engaged in various projects here are using boulders, sand and stones from the river bed. As a result, the depth of rivers is expanding. During the rainy season when the levels of the rivers rise, it increases the danger for people living near the river," said Bhagat Singh Kinnar, an environmentalist.

Mining contractors have to obtain the mandatory clearance from the Government. Illegal mining was banned in1995.

Despite the State Government putting a ban on mining along riverbeds in 2003, mining continues illegally.

"Due to illegal mining the land near the river is washed away. Besides, due to landslides the roads are damaged. The environment too is affected as the plants and trees are washed away or are buried under rubbles of a landslide affecting the environment in the long run," said Harishchander Laktu, another environmentalist.

Environmentalists have been demanding a complete ban on quarrying and mining along the riverbeds to save the valley from erosion and flash floods.

While authorities admit that sand digging along the riverbed is hazardous for the ecology of the Himalayan region, they contend, measures are being taken to curtail it.

Illegal mining accounts for nearly a third of the entire mining work being carried out in the belt.

ANI

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