Taking an “extra-ordinary” decision to crackdown on illegal stone mining, the Rohtas administration in Bihar has decided to blast approach roads to Kaimur hills in the district. Unable to check illegal mining even after four months of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s visit to Sasaram where he called on the authorities to stop this practice, the district officials have taken this decision. After several rounds of high-level meetings, the authorities have identified around 15 non-concrete routes in Karbandiya and Bansa villages in Sasaram infamous for illegal mining and have invited tenders for blasting them. The aim is to cut off roads so that the miners’ vehicles cannot reach their destination, reported The Indian Express. In 2007, the Bihar government declared stone mining illegal. Despite this miners are continuing the practice.
The district administration has identified routes leading to the hills prepared by illegal stone miners to reach their quarries spread over a 1,500-acre area and after due consultation with the state chief secretary and the Mines and Minerals Department, it has decided to destroy all of them so that miners cannot carry the stones through them, Rohtas Assistant Director, Mines and Minerals, Gyanendra Kumar told The Indian Express.
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According to Kumar, the tenders, invited to blast these roads, specify that the blast area should be 20 feet wide, 30 feet long and 20 to 40 feet deep. The aim behind it is to blast away the base of the hills and dig deep enough so that no vehicle loading stones can cross through, he said. Asked about the inconvenience of the people residing in the region, Kumar said, it would not affect the public as there are few human settlements in the foothills.
Meanwhile, there are some other approach routes to illegal mining spots besides the identified roads but those fall under the Forest Department. At present, the focus is on non-forest areas of Karbandiya and Bansa as they are the major problem areas, said Kumar adding that any decision on cutting off forest routes can only be taken by the Forest Department.