Chandigarh Trucks carrying illegal mining material should not be let off easily, the Punjab and Haryana high court has said, while dismissing the bail pleas of 18 accused in a case reported in SBS Nagar.
The high court bench of justice Arun Kumar Tyagi observed that the confiscation of the vehicles will not be dependent solely on the basis of conviction of the accused, when the use of the vehicles for illegal mining may be proved by documentary evidence.
The court was hearing bail pleas of 18 persons filed in June against an FIR registered in May 2020. The petitioners are alleged to be owners/drivers of 29 tippers (out of which eight tippers were filled with sand), two Poclain machines, two canters and one motorcycle found on the unauthorised site for illegal mining. It also came before court that since April, 201 FIRs have been registered and 299 vehicles have been confiscated. Seeing the gravity of the situation, the court had made director, department of mines and geology, Punjab as party in the case.
“Due to undesirable human interference with forces of nature, calamities, which were a few years back considered to be un-scientific fiction or remote possibilities, have turned into harsh realities and become nightmares in many parts of the world, endangering human life and even posing a threat to the very existence of mankind if remedial measures are not taken,” the bench observed, adding that remedial steps by the state be taken in two weeks and court be informed of the same.
MEASURES LISTED OUT BY STATE BEFORE COURT
For monitoring movement of vehicles, the mining department is developing a portal for online booking, registration and tracking of vehicles. Punjab has requested the Centre for implementing the mining surveillance system. The District Legal Committee and the District Level Environment Management Cell are to be substituted by District Mineral Foundation. DCs have been told to conduct review meetings on status of complaints and FIRs registered. DCs told to take action against officials for non-filing/delay in filing of FIRs.