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Introduction:

 Uttarakhand State has a long and fascinating past of mining of minerals. Placer Gold, Copper and Iron ores have been extracted/mined  in this part of Himalayan terrain on a very small scale over a hundred years ago. Prior to 1900, Copper ores were being mined on a very small scale in Garhwal division. The expansion of modern technology and decline in the prices also lead to the decline of small scale mining. Mining activity between 1920 and 1930 further declined on account of several social reasons.The Geologists have been examining the ground for search of both industrial and metallic mineral deposits which can be developed with respect to Technology and economics in cotemporary times. 

After independence in 1947 the first concern and emphasis was laid on developing the agricultural front and building the essential infrastructures for gradual development of industries.

In 1950-51 the Government of India enacted Industries Development Regulations Act, 1951 for controlling the grant of industrial licenses with a view to promote industries in the desired fields. This step also initiated serious efforts for exploring and exploiting the vast resources of the country. Activities of Geological survey of India were intensified and expanded. A number of departments for handling specialized investigations for the search and development of oil and natural  gas,  atomic  energy and coal were introduced. Energy and minerals were assigned top priorities. Various departments for survey of minerals were established in almost all the States within the next five or six years for intensive exploration of mineral resources.

In Uttar Pradesh the first investment towards the mineral based industry was made  by  the  State Government in the later part of the First Five Year Plan when a cement plant to produce 700 tonnes of cement per day was established in Churk, District Mirzapur in 1953. This was followed by the creation of Directorate of Geology and Mining (DGM) in 1955 for exploring the mineral potential of the State for proper development of mineral based industries. The State Directorate with its general reconnaissance and preliminary investigation, in the few years of second Five Year Plan, gradually intensified its activities in the subsequent plan periods to evaluate and outline mineral reserves in different areas of the State.

The  efforts  made  by  the  State  Directorate  in  the following plan periods have   changed  the mineralogical,  and hence the economical, complexion of the State to a great extent.

Growth:

The Directorate of Geology & Mining was set up in the erstwhile state of Uttar Pradesh in the year 1955 with a nucleus staff for geological exploration of mineral resources of the State. Since the year 1963 the Directorate was also entrusted with the responsibility of advising the State Government in matters regarding grant of mineral concessions and regularizing the mining work for (1) the proper development of minerals and mineral based industry and (2) maximizing the Government revenues through royalties. These were aided by other sub-sections, namely, (i) Geochemical Survey (ii) Geophysical Survey (iii) Surveying (iv) Chemical Analysis (v) Petrological Studies (vi) Drilling (vii) Ore-dressing (viii) Draughting (ix) XRF Laboratory and (x) Remote Sensing and Photo-geology.

In 1984, two Engineering Geology Cells were established in Srinagar (Garhwal), District Pauri and District Almora, the then hilly areas of Uttar Pradesh to cover up geotechnical aspects of the various Civil Works in Garhwal and Kumaon Divisions respectively. Considering the contribution of these cells, a need to substantially enhance them was deeply felt and accordingly the UP Government, once again in 1989, reorganized these two “Engineering Geological Cells” by converting them into Task Force Offices, one for each Hill District of the then Uttar Pradedsh. These offices were headed by the Geologists who were officers of Group ‘A’. Thus, Task Force Offices were opened in all the eight Districts, viz., Dehradun, Tehri, Uttarakashi, Pauri, Chamoli (Garhwal Region/Division), Nainital, Almora, and Pithoragarh (Kumaon Region/Division). In 1993, DGM, UP decentralized its offices by putting up its offices as Regional Office, Haldwani (District Nainital) and Regional Office, Dehradun (District Dehradun) for technical supervision of these offices and to cut short the financial procedures which were consuming too much time. The objective of this entire activity was to provide geotechnical advice and administrative support to the district administration at the District level itself.

At the time of the creation of the State of “Uttaranchal” on 9th November 2000 (renamed as ‘Uttarakhand’ from 01-01-2007) both the Regional Offices at Haldwani (District Naini Tal) and at Dehra Dun were being headed by the Deputy Directors. The Deputy Director posted at Regional Office, Dehradun, who was earlier functioning as the Nodal Officer also, was made Officer-in-charge of the Department of Geology and Mining, renaming it as “Geology and Mining Unit”  and attaching it to the Directorate of Industries to bring it under the control of the Director, Directorate of Industries, who was, ex officio, the Secretary of the Industrial Development, Government of Uttarakhand.

The restructuring of the “Geology and Mining Unit”, taken up by the Government of Uttarakhand, was finalised on 3rd December 2001 in which the office at Dehra Dun was elevated to the level of Head Quarter and six District level offices were deemed fit and the organization (Geology and Mining Unit) was attached to the “Directorate of Industries”, Uttaranchal. An ‘Additional Director’ was made the head of the Unit who had to function under control of the Director, Directorate of Industries, Uttaranchal.

Retaining most of the activities of the Department prior to the creation of the State of Uttaranchal, the Government of Uttaranchal redefined the tasks assigned to the Geology and Mining Unit:

1- Geotechnical Studies to advise the State Government on the matters related to Civil Works, Mining Activities, Disaster Management and Slope-stabilization wherever required.

2- Mineral Exploration and Mineral Development.

3- Mining Administration including the legal and matters related to litigations.

Geology and Mining Unit Headquarter shifted to its own building on 22nd June 2010, at Bhopalpani, P.O. Badasi, Raipur-Thano Road, District Dehradun, which is approximately 20 kms from clock tower on the eastern outskirts of Dehradun city.

On 22rd December 2011, the structure of the ‘Geology and Mining Unit’ was modified in which ‘Geology Wing’ and ‘Mining Wing’ were separated.