The Forest officials faced stiff resistance while raiding some unauthorised stone mines on forest land in Bankura.
Stone quarries mushroomed during the recent few months in some blocks in Bankura like Saltora, Mejia, Indpur, Ranibandh and Hirhbandh and according to the district administration officials, the entire mines operating in these blocks were unauthorised and mostly operating either on forest land or on land vested by the government.
State’s Commerce & Industry department, considering certain provisions of the ‘Mines & Minerals Act, 2016’ and ‘e-auction Concession Act 2016’ had officially declared absolute halt of the entire stone mining operations.
But the stone mines started looming desperately and the police and the district administration allegedly remained indifferent to the menace. Last week, the aggrieved residents of Deuli village in Gangajalghanti Police Station area had led a deputation to the BDO and the local Forest Ranger seeking immediate intervention into the matter. The district magistrate, Bankura, Dr Umashankar S had taken a note of the issue last week and told reporters that they would investigate into the matter.
Today, the Ranger, Saltora and the Block Land & Land Revenue Officer conducted a joint raid in some villages and seized two truckloads of mined stone from an illegal quarry at Krishnapur village.
Though a police team accompanied the officials, a section of villagers suddenly erupted and started pelting stones at the officials. None of them, was, however, injured. The villagers demanded that the land on a hilly terrain where mining was undergoing was owned by some individuals and the Forest department had nothing to do with that. They also detained the officials for several hours.
Mr Rana Guha, Ranger, Saltora said: “The land is owned by the Forest department and the villagers unlawfully started stone mining there.”
He added: “Once we start raiding, they unleashed attack on us.” The BLLRO, Saltora, Mr Puspanna Mondal said: “They didn’t seek license and approval from us for mining. Its absolutely illegal and as it seems, such mines are run in an organised way and we need to raid frequently.”