High Court shows concern over safety, security of mine workers

The High Court on Monday sought to know about the steps the government has taken to implement the statutory provisions as well as the rules and regulations of mining in Jammu and Kashmir. 

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation petition filed by Peoples’ Forum, a non-governmental organisation, through senior advocate M I Qadri, division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rashid Ali Dar also sought to know about the environmental degradation and the adverse impact on the ecology due to illegal mining and measures to ensure the safety and security of the workers in the mines. 

Seeking his personal appearance on August 28, the court directed the Commissioner Secretary to Government, Industries and Commerce Department to remain present in person and inform the court about the same.  

Observing that the PIL raises serious matters and implementation of various Acts governing the mining, the court said it has been noticed that the mine owners have failed to ensure the safety and protection of the labourers employed for mining activity.

The Court said the authorities concerned were unable to inform it about the measures in place to ensure the safety and security of the workers in the mines as well as the compliances with the statute, rules and regulations.

“There is no clarity even on the issues as to what are the responsibilities of the Centre and the State authorities” 

None of the reports filed on record, the court said, discloses any steps taken towards ensuring the compliances of the statutory provisions, the rules and regulations.

Underscoring that the petition raises concern of environmental degradation and adverse impact on the ecology, landscape and the habitation because of the indiscriminate illegal mining activity, the court said the matter is of very serious concern as is manifested from the several of its orders passed.   

The court asked the Commissioner-Secretary to Government, Industries and Commerce Department to examine the matters raised in the writ petition as well as several orders passed.

The court directed the officer to delineate responsibility of the Central and the State Government, the measures required to be undertaken to ensure strict compliance of the statutory provisions of mining as well as the rules and the regulations. It said the authorities who are responsible for the same should take steps to ensure the enforcement.