Monday, January 24, 2011


AHMEDABAD | JAN 21, 2011
The Gujarat government has informed the High court that it has formed a special task force (STF) and grievance redressal committees at state and district levels to check illegal mining in the state.

Information regarding this was placed in form of an affidavit before the division bench of Chief Justice S J Mukhopadhaya and Justice Akil Kureshi, while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) against illegal mining in Gir forest region that was filed by RTI activist Amit Jethva few days before he was shot dead.

The court in its order of December 21 last year had directed the Principal Secretary, Mines and Minerals Department, to remain present and had also ordered government to file an action taken report (ATR) with regard to implementation of Gujarat Mineral (Prevention of Illegal Mining, Transportation and Storage) Rules, 2005.

Following the order, Principal Secretary Maheshwar Sahu remained present before the court and the
government also filed an affidavit along with ATR.

According to the affidavit, government has formed a special task force and grievance redressal committee at state and district levels through a notification dated January 17.
The government further said that it will hold police officers, revenue officers and officers of Geology and Mining department of the concerned area accountable and liable for negligence if there was detection of illegal mining activities in their area.
The state government has further said that round the clock control room has been set up to receive complaints about illegal mining. Besides, incentive in form of cash award for informers was also in force.

During previous hearing in December last the court had said that it was not convinced with the government's actions to stop illegal mining in Gir region.

It had further said that the law against illegal mining was there since long but such activities have been rampant in the Gir region, as stated in its own affidavit filed in the court.

The PIL against illegal mining in Gir forest region was filed by Jethva a few days before he was shot dead opposite the High Court on July 20, 2010. After Jethva's death the court had included his younger brother Bhavani and uncle Vijay Rathod as petitioner in the PIL.

Jethva's father Bhikalal Jethva had alleged that BJP MP from Junagadh, Dinu Solanki was behind the murder of his son as he had filed a PIL against illegal mining.

Bhikalal has also filed petition in the High Court demanding investigation into his son's death by CBI or any other independent agency.

The Ahmedabad crime branch, probing Jethva's murder has arrested six persons including Pratap alias Shiva Solanki, nephew of BJP MP from Junagadh Dinu Solanki.