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Rs 5 crore to Rs 363 crore in 10 yrs: Haryana revenue from legal mining sees uptick; activists call for checks

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Rs 5 crore to Rs 363 crore in 10 yrs: Haryana revenue from legal mining sees uptick; activists call for checks

Environmentalists remaining worried about the situation stated that “legal mining needs to be regulated” nationwide a day after the Supreme Court ordered Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Gujarat to deny licence for mining activities in the Aravallis until further orders. The court had declared that the mining operations that are already being conducted out lawfully under licences and permits will not be affected by its ruling.

However, Kailash Meena, an environmentalist from Sikar, Rajasthan, asked the Supreme Court to investigate continuing mining activities on leases as well because, according to him, regulations are not adhered to on the ground and the activity is not limited to lease limits alone. “Since our wildlife and rural communities have been bearing the brunt of its impacts, legal mining should not be allowed close to forest and habitation areas,” Meena said.

However, Sikar, Rajasthan-based environmentalist Kailash Meena requested the Supreme Court to look into ongoing mining activities on leases as well since, in his opinion, rules are not followed on the ground and the activity is not restricted to the boundaries of the leases. “Since our wildlife and rural communities have been bearing the brunt of its impacts, legal mining should not be allowed close to forest and habitation areas,” Meena said.

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In the meantime, the Haryana government reported to the Central Empowered Committee in March of this year that the revenue from four districts in which mining is permitted in 2023–24 was estimated to be Rs 363.5 crore. According to records, this amount was Rs 5.15 crore in 2013–14.

A 2009 ruling by the Supreme Court prohibits mining in the Aravalli hills in the districts of Faridabad, Gurgaon, and Nuh. Nonetheless, the state’s four districts—Rewari, Mahendergarh, Charkhi Dadri, and Bhiwani—allow mining.

According to statistics, the state government has earned Rs 3,621 crore in income in the last ten years. The largest increase in revenue was seen in Bhiwani and Charkhi Dadri, where Haryana’s revenue increased from Rs 1.13 crore in 2013–14 to Rs 351 crore in 2023–24. Over a total area of 627.9 hectares, the two areas are home to 16 mines, some of which have licences that expire in 2038. Mahendragarh has eight mines, and Rewari has one. Only three infractions, according to the authorities, were noted in these districts.

The prayer read, “In light of the foregoing, it is humbly submitted that the State of Haryana may be allowed to resume its mining operations in the districts of Faridabad and Nuh because the current circumstances/availability of limited mineral resources qua the operational mines would be exhausted in the coming years. The CEC is fully aware of the legal position of the matter as being associated with the present case/litigation right from the beginning. Therefore, the State could be permitted to start mining again on an equal footing with the neighbouring state of Rajasthan.

Environmentalist Neelam Ahluwalia claimed that she conducted ground truthing expeditions in all seven districts of Haryana, the state where the Aravallis are located, and discovered that the state’s mountain ranges are being swiftly destroyed due to both legitimate and illicit mining. Given the rate at which the Aravalli hills have been devastated by both legal and illicit mining, Ahluwalia continued, “Haryana will soon become a desert… water-starved.”

Meanwhile, the court had observed that the amicus’s proposal had been rejected by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was defending Haryana, Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj, who was representing Rajasthan, and an attorney who was representing the Rajasthani mining groups. Millions of workers were “dependent on mining activities” conducted in these states, according to their submission, and if an order of that kind is approved, it will have a “cascading effect on their livelihood.”

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