Shimla: To protect the environment and conserve minerals, the Himachal Pradesh government is promoting reuse of waste generated from developmental activities, an official said on Sunday.
The government has decided to permit use of raw material and waste generated by stone crushers at projects such as construction of roads, tunnels and power projects, a government official told IANS.
He said this would not only help in curbing illegal mining but also meeting the growing demand for minerals in the market.
Since there was heavy pressure on natural resources owing to ongoing construction activities, it was imperative that they were scientifically and judiciously harnessed, he said.
The state has imposed a complete ban on any mining activity without prior environmental clearance as per a directive of the National Green Tribunal.
At the same time, the official said, the government was ensuring that the pace of development in the state does not get hampered for want of minerals.
To check illegal mining at night, the government has imposed a ban on transportation of minerals in border areas from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
The state now has its first State Mineral Advisory Committee under the chairmanship of the Industries Minister. It would ensure planned and scientific mining and gives its suggestions to the government for better management of mining areas.
In order to curb illegal mining, the government has framed stringent rules. A provision of imprisonment up to two years or fine up to Rs 25,000 or both has been made for those involved in illegal mining of minerals, their transportation and holding.
Illegal mining in Himachal Pradesh is acute in Una, Solan and Sirmaur districts, adjoining Punjab and Haryana.
An 84-year-old railway bridge on the Chakki rivulet in the state was washed away following flash floods in 2011. The railway blamed the collapse on unscientific mining in the Chakki stream.
The bridge, which provides connectivity to narrow-gauge trains on the Pathankot-Joginder Nagar rail segment, is located on the border of the hill state and Punjab.
The Northern Railway had informed the Himachal Pradesh High Court that the bridge collapsed due to unscientific mining in the Chakki stream in Pathankot and Kangra districts.