JAIPUR: Illegal mining activities in the state resulted in agitations at Jaipur and Bhilwara in the past two days. In Ugryawas area in Jaipur district, nearly 7,000 people started a united struggle against mining in the area while a large crowd came out on the road in Jahajpur town of Bhilwara district against alleged illegal mining of gravel.

To stop the mining work, villagers in thousands reached the mining site in Ugryawas on Thursday and launched a protest. Later police had to intervene to continue the work. “The place is naturally scenic and holds great significance for us. Balaji temple, just besides the hills, is famous across the state and revered by each one of us here. We don’t want to lose any of it,” said Nemichand Bairwa, sarpanch, Ugryawas.

The mining department had granted nine leases of gravel in the area. The local administration later tried to pacify the people as the mining lease was legal and the owner was authorized to carry out the work by the court. The villagers are now considering approaching the court for reprieve. “The lease was given in 2007 and as per rules, the work at the site should start in six months or license stands cancelled. But here the rules are overruled because the owner is influential and powerful,” alleged one of the villagers.

Tension also continues at Jahajpur town of Bhilwara district against alleged illegal mining. Hundreds of villagers blocked the road and clashed with police to protest against mining of gravel from a river by mining mafia. Villagers blame mining for the depleting water lever and deteriorating environment in the area.

“Several villagers blocked the road used for transporting of gravel mined from nearby Banas river. Some stone-pelting occurred on Friday when workers clashed with each other.

Seven vehicles were also damaged in clash. The situation is under control but remains tense as villagers are very agitated,” said a senior police officer. A large number of police personnel have been deployed in the area to maintain law and order. Senior police and administration officials have assured the villagers that they would take action against illegal mining.