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4 mining zones created in Himachal Pradesh to enforce laws

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4 mining zones created in Himachal Pradesh to enforce laws

Following the restructuring of the Industries Department’s Geological Wing, four mining zones have been established in the state to effectively enforce mining laws and monitor illegal mining.

The State Geologist had previously been entrusted with the task of decentralising various works, which was causing delays.

Since senior officials’ roles were limited to the directorate, it’s unclear how effective the new arrangement will be.

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However, concerns have been raised about the re-structuring of zones, as adjacent districts have been assigned to different zones, such as Zone 1, which includes districts such as Shimla, Chamba, and Kinnaur, which are geographically separated.

Some officials wonder how illegal mining could be stopped by simply establishing zones at the headquarters rather than establishing regional offices because the staff would remain in Shimla. Another officer learned that a geologist in charge of the Mandi zone is also in charge of a mining officer in Shimla.

Zone 1 includes the districts of Shimla, Chamba, and Kinnaur, while Zone 2 includes the districts of Una, Kangra, and Hamirpur. According to the notification assessed by The Tribune, Sirmaur, Solan, and Bilaspur districts have been placed in Zone 3, while Mandi, Kullu, and Lahaul and Spiti districts have been placed in Zone 4.

Each zone will have two officials, with a team of senior officials, such as the State Geologist and assistant geologists, as well as geologists-I, II, III, and IV, assigned to each zone. Previously, each district was led solely by a mining officer.

Senior officials will ensure that field functionaries effectively check for illegal mining, as well as regulate mining activities and ensure the operation and registration of stone crushers. Senior officials would also scrutinise the functionaries.

Illegal mining is a constant source of worry, particularly in bordering areas such as Baddi, Barotiwala, Nalagarh, Paonta Sahib, and districts such as Una and Kangra. It remains to be seen whether the new arrangement will help to curb this nefarious activity, which was costing the state money and exploiting the state’s minerals.

Because senior officials are stationed in Shimla rather than the field, it is unclear how the new arrangement will help combat illegal mining.

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