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Pithoragarh, November 30

The Bageshwar district administration and the Forest Department have started a probe into the reported violations of forest and mining laws by soft stone mines owned by the Ponty Chadha group.

“We have received a letter from the Kumaon Commissioner, Dr Hemlata Dhaundiyal, ordering an investigation into the alleged violation of forest laws by mines owned by the Ponty Chadha group in Bageshwar district,” said V. Shanmugham, District Magistrate, Bageshwar.
The District Magistrate said he had ordered the Tehsildar of Bageshwar, Padam Singh Mahar, to investigate the matter as the mines were situated in the Rima area of Bageshwar. The Forest Department has also ordered a probe into the alleged violation of forest laws by the soft stone mines owned by the group in the Bageshwar division.
“It has come to our notice that the Ponty Chadha group has installed a cable trolley at Dungari village of the district to ferry soft stones from its mines. The Forest Department has not given permission for the installation of the cable trolley. We are investigating the matter to find out whether the cable trolley is operating without permission,” said RC Sharma, DFO, Bageshwar division.
According to district administration sources, the Ponty Chadha group has six soft stone mines in Bageshwar district where more than 500 locals are working at present. “The Chadha group has nearly 60 hectares in the district under the soft stone mines allotted on different names,” said Pankaj Pandey, president of the Bageshwar Nagrik Manch.The Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) of the Kumaon division has also summoned a report from the DFO on the legality of the Chadha group mines in the district. The Mining Department has also started a probe into the allegation that some of the Chadha group mines are being operated on revenue land of farmers. “We are investigating the matter. When it is a crime to keep debris on revenue land, how can one mine it,” said Rajpal Legha, Mines Officer, Bageshwar district. 

BD Kasniyal


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