Uttarkashi (Uttarakhand): While mining in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand was banned after it posed serious environmental hazards, the ongoing stone quarrying in the area clearly illustrates the lackadaisical approach of the government in tackling the serious issue.

According to the official records, there are no stone crushing units or any approved stone quarrying plants in the district, but on contrary six illegal stone crushing plants are functional in three blocks of the district.

Use of stone crushers for mountain quarries in the district is banned since 2008 on account of environmental concerns. But illegal quarrying in three blocks of the district including Chinyalisaur (three crushers), Naugaun (two crushers) and Dunda (one crusher) are on.

As per government guidelines, for setting up stone crushing unit in the plain region, a minimum of 2.5 acres of plain area is required for conducting quarrying while in mountainous region, it goes up to 5 acres.

While hearing a PIL filed by Himalayan Yuva Gramin Vikash Sansthan in 2010, the Uttarakhand High Court had asked the state government to draft fresh policy for setting up the crusher units keeping in view the environmental concerns.

JPN/Bureau