Bista seeks CECE intervention against alleged illegal mining practices by a private company in Kalimpong

Wednesday, May 15, 2024 09:15 [IST]

Last Update: Wednesday, May 15, 2024 03:45 [IST]

Bista seeks CECE intervention against alleged illegal mining practices by a private company in Kalimpong

DARJEELING,: Darjeeling MP Raju Bista, who is also the BJP national spokesperson, today maintained that he had taken up the issue of “illegal mining practices” by a private company in Kalimpong with the Central Empowered Committee on Environment (CECE).

In a press release, Bista said, “I have today reached out to the Member Secretary of CECE, constituted by the Supreme Court of India, to investigate and take necessary action as per law, against the rampant illegal mining practices by a private company in Kalimpong.”

In the release, Bista added that Kalimpong district being situated in the Eastern Himalayan region is part of the 32 IUCN Biodiversity Hotspots and the region is marked by a fragile high-mountain environment and biodiversity.

“The region falls under Seismic Zone IV and is prone to earthquakes with major shakes being a norm. Kalimpong also gets massive rainfall, which together with a fragile geological condition leads to multiple landslides in the district. Given these, river mining in Kalimpong district had been restricted to manual removal of sand, stone chips, etc, without the use of heavy machineries like stone crushers and excavators,” said Bista, “However, since 2018, the Kalimpong district administration has handed over the mining rights to a particular company, owned by a local politician.”

Bista said on May 16 last year,  he had requested the Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change (EFCC) Bhupender Yadav for investigation of the the illegal and unsustainable mining practices in Relli and Pala rivers under Kalimpong district. Following the request, the deputy director general of Forest (Central) had inspected the sites, where in it was found that the mining had been in violations of multiple statutes under the Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2016, and the Enforcement and Monitoring Guidelines for Sand Mining, 2020 issued by the EFCC, Bista added.

In the release, Bista pointed out that the EFCC had said that there was the need for action needs to be taken against illegal mining and had also called for the review of the Environmental Clearance (EC) given by the District Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (DIEAA) to be undertaken by the State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA).

“Despite clear instructions from the Central government for initiating action, till date no action has been taken by the West Bengal Forest department, Pollution Control Board or any other agencies. Instead, the same individuals who have indulged in rampant illegal mining of these rivers have been given additional mining rights,” he said.

The Darjeeling MP further said that he had received representations from elected panchayat members, informing him about how these illegal mining has caused cracks in the lands along with water, dust and air pollution ruining the life and livelihood of the people living in Echhey Busty, Budhyang Busty, Sandung Busty, Dhajey Busty, Primtam Busty, Sindebong Busty and nearby regions in Kalimpong district.

“Given, that the WB Forest department and Pollution Control Board failed to take necessary action I have requested for direct intervention by the Member Secretary of CECE to put a permanent stop to these illegal mining practices and take necessary actions as per law against the violators,” said Bista.


Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi