November 3, 2015 2:48:07 am
Irked by allegations that “legal” permits were being shown by sand miners for conducting “illegal” work, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Monday banned sand mining on the Yamuna. The move came after a plea alleged that some private firms were engaged in the activity and a temporary bridge had been built on the river obstructing its natural flow.
“No mining activity, both legal and illegal, should be carried out on the banks of the Yamuna till the next date of hearing. A local commissioner and a representative from the Ministry of Environment and Forests should file their joint inspection report by December 27 – the next date of hearing,” said a bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar.
The panel was hearing a plea filed by the NGT Bar Association, which had alleged that the land mafia was indulging in illegal sand mining on either side of the river’s banks at Gautam Budh Nagar area of Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Faridabad area of Haryana.
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The submissions were based on news reports that a “temporary bridge” and “pipelines” had been laid from Noida to Faridabad by sand miners.
The bench directed the UP government to seize all the material and machinery used in the area of its jurisdiction for the mining activity.
It also directed that a committee of senior officers of both UP and Haryana be constituted, and said the district magistrate and member secretary of the respective pollution control boards inspect the area and file a status report by the next date of hearing.
The green panel also directed the chief engineer of the irrigation department of both the states to file a report on the damage done to the river due to sand bags, laying of hose pipes and construction materials.
The panel also issued notice to two firms engaged in mining and asked their directors why they should not be directed to pay the compensation for the damage done to the ecology and environment.
Meanwhile, the counsels for the two states blamed each other. The UP lawyer told the court that “people from Haryana” were engaged in sand mining and that a contractor had shown a “permit” issued by the Haryana government when questioned by police.
The counsel for Haryana, on the other hand, claimed there was no illegal mining in the area and all firms engaged in sand mining have necessary environmental clearances.
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