The National Green Tribunal on Friday directed the Uttarakhand government to ensure there is no “illegal” sand mining being carried out on the floodplains of river Ganga in the state. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swantanter Kumar asked the Trivendra Singh Rawat government to take necessary steps in this regard on a plea filed by an NGO seeking a stay on mining of minor minerals on the bed of river Ganga in Haridwar.
“The counsel appearing for the Uttarakhand government and the state pollution control board submit that they will take all requisite steps to ensure that there is no illegal mining in the state and there are no stone crushers which pollute the environment,” the bench noted. During the hearing, the Uttarakhand government and the state pollution control board told the tribunal that they have taken action against 30 stone crushers.
The direction came while disposing a plea, filed by NGO Social Action for Forest and Environment (SAFE), which had alleged that illegal mining of sand and boulders is being carried out in villages Bishanpur, Goghpur and Kandabhagamal on the bank of Ganga in Uttarakhand. “The act of illegal mining is not only endangering environment but is also in non-compliance of enactments listed in Schedule I of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010,” it had said.
The plea had also submitted photographs showing large-scale illegal mining of minerals and contends that mining in these areas is not only damaging the environment and ecology of the river but also affecting the movement of wildlife. According to the plea, a state-level committee, comprising officials of the Environment ministry, had also suggested that the “state government should be asked to stop all illegal mining in the Ganga immediately to avoid any further adverse impact on surrounding environment.”