Fueling growth of Illegal mining – A sattire

Himachal from digital to Stone Age

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Photo used for indicative purpose only

Ram Swarup is s a simple orchardist, growing vegetables along with apples for his livelihood. Recently when a road was being built through his land with a JCV; he was amazed to see the capacity of the machine; doing the work of a 200 men in a few hours, all for a nominal charge.

He has decided that he would call on the JCV man once the roadwork was over for leveling his rocky patch of land where he could grow good quality vegetables and maybe some additional trees. He knows by his trips to the market that a contractor has taken up a work for making a wall on the main road where he would be requiring boulders for his work. He is very excited that he would be able to pay for the JCV to level his land after he sells the Stone of his land to the contractor.

Ram Swarup found out that he needs to obtain ‘X’ Forms from the local Mining officer to sell those stones to the contractor. He takes a bus travel hour and a half to meet the Mining officer in Shimla. The officer informs the nitty gritty of getting ‘X’ forms while warning him of the consequences if he is caught stealing; fines from seven to twenty five thousand rupees per truck. He is told to either get a certificate from the agriculture office that his land needs to be developed or can get a map prepared that he wants to build a house on that land, therefore the land needs to be leveled. He is assured by the mining officer that the process will not take long; all it takes is his revenue papers with maps and certificate, with which he can apply to the State Geologist, from where the State Geologist will write to Mining Officer and then the Mining Officer will write to the Tehsildar for a giving a date for Inspection. An official of the PWD will also accompany the Tehsildar and the Mining Officer for the Inspection. The Patwari needs to be present too as he has the knowledge of the boundaries of the area. He is also told that he needs to show a stock of stones to the Inspection committee, as he will get permission to lift only and not dig fresh.

Ram Swarup now armed with loads of information and dreams goes back home to prepare. In a week’s time, Ram Swarup has obtained an Agriculture certificate. He now calls upon the JCV man who charges him about forty thousand and digs around twenty trucks of stone. Now armed with twenty trucks worth more than he has spent and with a new determination, he goes to the State Geologist, where he applies with all his papers. The clerk has assured him that in a week’s time he will get a letter for the date of Inspection. Happily, he goes back, with hope and dreams.

A week has passed ten days and then a month has gone by; Ram Swarup is a worried man, maybe his dak got lost by the postman. He decides to visit the local post office first thing in the morning. Next day he leaves early to catch the post man, who on enquiry tells him that nothing at all has come in his name, no letter at all. Ram Swarup is worried, the contractors work (Who wanted to buy his stones) is progressing, the truck with whom he contacted for lifting his material is getting material from elsewhere and supplying to the contractor. Will he ever be able to sell his material, will he ever be able to recover his money, or will he be stuck with the boulders in his land forever. His wife is nagging him, people are advising him to sell off the material illegally because nothing will happen. What should he do? It troubles him constantly, he is afraid of being caught; twenty five thousand fine is a large sum of money. Police problems, court issues, what should he do, is his quest now.

Ram Swarup decides to visit the Mining Officer. As soon as the Mining Officer arrives, he asks about his inspection. The first question he is asked by the Mining Officer when did you apply? He says more than a month ago. He is told that no letter has reached the Mining Officer. Therefore he should go to the office of the State Geologist where he initially applied. He goes there, luckily for him it’s on the same building, otherwise he would have to go to the head office had he been in some other district, spending money on travel, staying  and eating, would have been a burden too big to bear.

On enquiry from the clerk, he is told that the file has gone to the senior officer and the letter would be made soon. Afraid to go into the office of the senior he glimpses’ into it every time the peon opens the door and sees a large number of files stacked upon the desk of the officer. They all look the same and he can’t make out which one is his dream file. The officer is not in his chair, on enquiry he comes to know he is out of station on tour and will be back by day after tomorrow.

Dejected Ram Swarup goes back home, and decides to wait on that maybe he will get his letter for inspection. Another fifteen days have gone no sign of the letter; it’s no point in chasing the postman again. He sees the contractor is almost about to finish his work. The truck driver has told him that he is willing to lift his material for fifteen hundred a truck without any ‘X’ forms. The driver told him that if he had got ‘X’ forms then he could have sold it for twenty two hundred a truck.

Ram Swarup did not want to be part of the so-called Mafia, ‘khannan Mafia’ as being termed. He doesn’t have guns and he has been an honest man all his life, but is caught in a glitch of unwanted pressures. He tried his best to be honest in his approach; but the system forced him. It’s been six months now ram Swarup has got a letter for the date of inspection, but he is not interested as he is already tilling his leveled land with no stones in it, he sold them off, at least his job was done. Legally or illegally, it did not matter to him anymore.

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