The Rajasthan government has told the Supreme Court that no illegal mining was going on in 115.34 hectares of land in the Aravalli area of the state.
The chief secretary of Rajasthan has filed an affidavit in the top court which had on October 23 expressed shock over 31 “vanished” hills or hillocks in Aravalli area and had asked the state government to stop illegal mining in the 115.34-hectare area there within 48 hours.
“It is stated on affidavit filed by DB Gupta who is chief secretary of the government of Rajasthan that there is no illegal mining going on in respect of 115.34 hectares of land, as mentioned in our order dated October 23, 2018,” a bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur noted in its October 29 order.
In the affidavit, the chief secretary has also said that approximately 27 per cent ground truthing of the area has been done and serious efforts would be made to complete the entire exercise within a period of three months as per directions of the top court.
Ground truthing is an exercise conducted to ascertain the empirical evidence at the actual site.
The top court posted the matter for further hearing after three months.
On October 23, the top court had observed that though Rajasthan was earning a royalty of around Rs 5,000 crore from mining activities in Aravalli, it cannot endanger the lives of lakhs of people in Delhi as disappearance of hills there could be one of reasons for rise in pollution level in the national capital region (NCR).
The court had also referred to a report of the central empowered committee (CEC) which had said that out of 128 samples taken by the Forest Survey of India (FSI), as many as 31 hills or hillocks have vanished.
The state’s counsel had then told the top court that all the government departments concerned in Rajasthan were “on the job” to stop illegal mining.
The court is dealing with a matter related to illegal mining activities in the Aravalli range.