July 2021, Stone crusher owners in Una district proceeded on strike yesterday. Their decision is likely to hit construction activity in both government and private sectors in the lower areas of Himachal. Last year also, they had been on strike for about two months, leading to a steep rise in the prices of construction material such as sand and gravel in the region
Dimple Thakur, president of the Stone Crusher Owners Union in Una, alleged that they went on strike as the government had failed to provide them protection against anti-social elements, who are obstructing their legal business in villages. The stone crusher owners objected to the groups of vigilantes in many areas of the state who were opposing the movement of heavy vehicles on rural roads.
The stone crusher owners have requested the state government to allow mechanical mining in the leased areas allotted to them. They alleged that mining was not possible without machines. It was almost impossible to mine sand and gravel at a commercial scale with shovels, as has been prescribed in the mining rules of Himachal.
They urged the government to allow them to lift sand and gravel with 80 BhP machines, as was being done in many other states. They alleged that disallowing mechanical mining even in leased areas was leading to corruption. Director, Industries, Rakesh Prajapati said that the government policy was clear that illegal mining would not be allowed. The pressure tactics of the stone crusher owners would not work and those involved in illegal mining would be dealt with strictly, as per the directions of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), he added. He said that the government was planning to geo-fence the areas allotted on mining leases in the entire state to check the illegal activity. About the demand for allowing mechanical mining, the Director said that the issue was under the consideration of the state government. Recently, an NGT team led by Justice Jasbir Singh, a retired judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, had visited Una district to prepare a report on illegal mining in the Swan River.
Even Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur in a statement issued recently admitted to large-scale illegal mining in the river. Mechanical mining Strike to hit construction activities in both public and private sectors The government urged to allow mechanical mining at least in leased areas The issue of permission to use 80 Bhp machines to lift mining material under government consideration