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PIL to declare 10 kms of Indo-Pak border areas ‘No Mining Zone’ in Rajasthan

‘Demand to re-establish CID chowkies’

Udaipur : Hearing on a civil writ petition by Seemajan Kalyan Samiti Vs Union of India and others, a divisional bench of the High Court at its principal seat at Jodhpur, headed by Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Dinesh Mehta on Thursday, has issued notices to central and state governments seeking replies on illegal mining near international borders of Rajasthan and closure of many chowkies of CID (Border Intelligence) in past years which has increased illegal activities, counterfeit currencies, infiltration, security hazards in  the region. The next hearing would be on February 19. Besides the union and state governments, notices have been issued to the Ministry of Mines, New Delhi, Director General BSF, Directorate of Mines and Geology, Udaipur, DGP-Raj and collectors of Barmer, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and SriGanganar.

The public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed by Seemajan Kalyan Samiti, a voluntary organization, working in the districts of State of Rajasthan near international border. The petitioner’s counsel Sajjan Singh Rathore apprised the court that illegal mining is a huge concern specially gypsum mining and other mineral near the border area which has reached within 500 meters of the fencing of the international border. At some areas the state government is issuing permission for the excavation of minerals after one kilometer from  the border which may pose grave threat to the national security as these leases alloted near the international borders and illegal mining within 500 meters of the borders, has increased the possibility of underground tunnels for cross terrorism. Also because of shutting down of the units/chowkies of CID (Border Intelligence) in the border districts viz Barmer, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Sri Ganganagar, has resulted into increase in illegal smuggling of narcotics products, fake currencies and also activities of spying for neighboring country.

Mining pits security threat

The counsel told the court that the mining area near the border of India-Pakistan , mostly in Bikaner district has developed pits of more than 20 to 40 feet on some locations and this has made a situation that a man can travel very well for kilometers without being sighted from the checkposts of the BSF. These pits are feared to cause serious hurdles for the Indian Army as the units which are sitting at the back of the border as second line of security could face problem in approaching towards the border in any emergency.The tank regiments which inspected the site of mining pits, has shown great concern towards border movements in any war like situation or infiltration.

The counsel said that in the garb of improvement of the agricultural fields the permits are being issued and the miners are excavating the mineral and developing pits which may prove threat to national security. One Lead Intelligence Agency (LIA) Committee which convenes its monthly meeting on the security issues with all the intelligence branches of BSF, Army, Police, Collector and higher officials of the Administration too has taken up this security concern on the international borders. That LIA time and again has written to the State Government and Central Government on the issue and also the difficulty of the patrolling teams and standby teams in approaching the border in emergency situation.

That despite writing on number of occasions no steps whatsoever has been taken to stop the mining activities due to political pressures and also due to corruption in the system that is supporting these legal and illegal miners. It has also been said that there were about 20 chowkies of CID (Border Intelligence) in Barmer, Bikaner, Jaisalmer and SriGanganar but they have been closed down since a decade.  Until the chowkies were there, the intelligence system in border area was good as they helped the BSF in checking illegal activities. But after their closure narcotics, armed smuggling, illegal migration, establishments of madarssas, smuggling of Indian counterfeit currency etc has increased.

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