Banshi Paharpur range
Banshi Paharpur range

Rajasthan government legalizes stone mining, Ayodhya seers hail move

VHP leaders and Ayodhya seers have welcomed the Rajasthan government’s decision to legalise mining of the pink stone in Bansi Paharpur area of Bharatpur district.

LUCKNOW: VHP leaders and Ayodhya seers have welcomed the Rajasthan government’s decision to legalize mining of the pink stone in Bansi Paharpur area of Bharatpur district. These stones are being used for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya. Sources said the Rajasthan government has begun the process of resuming the mining of the stone days after Ayodhya seers warned the Congress-ruled Rajasthan government of agitation.

The Bharatpur administration had clamped down on illegal mining and had impounded around 27 trucks carrying slabs of stone on September 6-7. The district administration had claimed the stones were being illegally mined from Banshi Pahadpur, the forest block in the north-east corner of a wildlife sanctuary.
Bandh Banetha, spread across 198 square km, was notified as a wildlife sanctuary in 1985. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has been sourcing stones from Banshi Pahadpur for years. The supply was disrupted just when the Ram temple trust was about to place an order for a fresh stock 4.5 lakh cubic feet stone worth `36 crore. The stone costs around `800 per cubic feet.

Besides being needed for the construction of the grand Ram temple, the pink stone has to be used in 1,200 pillars for the foundation of the temple. Sources said the Gehlot government was working on a proposal to be sent to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest by this month-end, urging it to de-notify the forest land to legalise mining in the Banshi Paharpur range.

The Supreme Court had prohibited non-forest activities in forest areas on December 12, 1996. Till then around 42 legal mines of pink, red and yellow sandstone were operational in the Banshi Paharpur forest area.

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