The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday rapped the Haryana government over rampant illegal mining of minor minerals in Sonipat district, saying it was surprised at the violations. A bench set by the tribunal has appointed advocate Abhishek Atrey as the court commissioner and directed him to conduct an inspection on Thursday itself.
Irked at the approach of the authorities, the bench headed by Justice Raghuvendra S Rathore stated, “We are extremely surprised to see that despite all specific orders passed by the tribunal to State of Haryana that no mechanised mining is to take place in the river bed, the same is not being adhered to by them. As a matter of fact, the environmental clearance issued by the state reflects a situation otherwise regarding the machines to be used for mining.” It further said, “In these circumstances and before proceeding further, we deem it just and proper to immediately have a present status of the site. Therefore, we request advocate Abhishek Atrey to be a court commissioner and visit the site today.”
The green panel directed applicant Vikash Kumar to pay remuneration of Rs 50,000 to the court commissioner and all other expenses, including conveyance, photography etc. “We direct the counsel for Haryana to ensure that the order passed today is communicated to all the authorities concerned, including the superintendent of police and the district magistrate of Sonipat, who shall take appropriate steps with regard to the safety and security of the commissioner and provide all other assistance required by him,” the bench said. The tribunal directed the court commissioner to file the report during office hours on Thursday or Friday morning. The matter was posted for next hearing on Friday.
The green panel was hearing a plea filed by Kumar, a Haryana resident, who had sought action against illegal and unauthorised mining of minor minerals including gravel and sand in the district. The plea said despite stringent conditions being imposed, mining of sand and minor minerals on river bed was being done by using heavy machinery contrary to the terms and conditions of environmental clearance.