Collector told to decide on quarrying on Rahadpur Hill
Jajpur: The illegal quarrying of black stones on the Rahadapur Hill in Dharmasala tehsil in this district received a jolt with the Orissa High Court directing the Collector to decide on the matter within six weeks.
Acting on a Public Interest Litigation (3065/2018), the HC cracked the whip on illegal quarrying on the hill, August 6. The High Court intervened after social activist Sarbeshwar Behura filed a PIL regarding illegal quarrying in the southern part of the hill.
The HC also directed the petitioner to submit a certified copy of the order along with the writ petition before the Collector within two weeks. The matter came out after Behura submitted a certified copy of the order and a copy of the writ petition to Collector Ranjan Kumar Das Tuesday.
According to the writ petition the illegal stone crusher units and illegal quarrying on Rahadapur Hill is seriously threatening two minor irrigation projects (MIP) at Ranibandh and Paikarapur in Mahisara panchayat in Dharmasala block. Orissa POST had published detailed reports regarding this several times.
Acting on the media reports, Behura filed a PIL in the HC demanding intervention in the matter in February, 2018.
Behura alleged in his writ petition that establishing a stone crusher unit and a road near irrigation projects violates the Orissa Minor Mineral Concession Rules and the Environment Act.
He alleged that around 10 stone crusher units were operating in the area in clear violation of legal and environmental norms, and that he had submitted a memorandum to the Collector demanding a joint probe.
He said that around 10 acres have been given on lease to 14 persons. Black granite is being quarried from the hill beyond prescribed limits.
The district administration after receiving the complaints clamped ban orders under Section 144 for namesake, but failed to restrain the quarry owners. The presence of human settlements, schools and places of worship about 200-400 metres from the quarrying site made the mining illegal, he said.
The houses have developed cracks due to blasting and children are afraid to go to schools. Air and water pollution is rampant in the area.
When contacted, Dharmasala Tehsildar Saroj Kumar Panda said steps will be taken after reviewing the HC order.