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Take necessary steps to conserve, beautify Lomas and Yagyavalkya hillocks in Bihar’s Nawada: Patna HC

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By Alok Mohit

PATNA: The Patna high court recently said the historic Lomas and Yagyavalkya hillocks in Bihar’s Nawada district were of cultural and religious significance and directed the authorities concerned to initiate necessary measures for their conservation and beautification.

The court expects that the steps taken by the special secretary, department of tourism, government of Bihar as also the district magistrate, Nawada, are taken to its purposeful end, a division bench of chief justice K Vinod Chandran and justice Parth Saarthy, said.

While disposing of the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition filed by a former mukhiya, the court said after examining all relevant documents and affidavits, it found there was no need to continue the case.

The order was posted on the high court’s website on September 18.

Petitioner Vinoy Kumar Singh, former mukhiya of Chhapra village in Rajauli police station area of  Nawada, had sought legal action to safeguard the environment, heritage, and cultural significance of these hillocks, named after  two ancient sages.

Singh contended that Lomas and Yagyavalkya held religious, cultural, and historical importance. The two hillocks also temples and caves, he said, adding that mining and stone quarrying activities, which began in 2007, had negatively impacted their heritage value and biodiversity.

He argued that the mining activities violated environmental regulations, particularly the Bihar Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites, Remains and Art Treasures Act, 1976. Singh emphasised that mining operations were adversely affecting wildlife and the local population.

Raising concerns about mining within a protected forest area, he also sought protection of the stream flowing into Khuri river in the adjoining forests.

In response, various government departments and authorities provided counter-affidavits, stating that they had followed applicable regulations and had taken steps to address environmental concerns. The affidavits indicated that mining activities had been halted within specified distances from wildlife sanctuaries, in compliance with Supreme Court orders and ecological guidelines.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) reported that although no significant archaeological findings were discovered at the hillocks, local traditions emphasised their religious significance.

(Author Alok Mohit is former senior News Editor of Hindustan Times Patna and Chandigarh editions; can be contacted at mohit.alok19@gmail.com)

 

 

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