Updated: February 21, 2017 9:45:23 pm
The National Green Tribunal today directed District Magistrate of Gonda in Uttar Pradesh to file an affidavit on the issue of illegal sand mining. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also slammed the officer for not appearing before it despite specific orders passed thrice. During the hearing, when the bench asked Ashutosh Niranjan about the status of sand mining in the district, he said no illegal mining was being carried out.
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He told the NGT that district authorities were ensuring that no illegal mining or unscientific extraction of minerals take place anywhere and did not agree with the report of amicus curiae who had reported illegal mining in the area.
The bench then directed the officer to file a personal affidavit and posted the case for next hearing on March 7.
Advocate Om Prakash, appearing for Railways, told the tribunal that they had in November last year informed the district authorities about the unauthorised mining in Gonda but no action has been taken till date.
The tribunal had earlier issued bailable warrant against the district magistrate for non-appearance and directed him to appear before it.
The NGT was hearing a plea by Lok Sabha MP Kirti Vardhan Singh from Gonda who had written to it seeking ban on large-scale illegal sand mining going on in his constituency.
Singh had written the letter to the NGT chief to apprise him about illegal sand mining in Kalyanpur and Chak Rasool areas under Tehsil Tarabganj in Gonda.
“There is also a lot of resentment among the local people. Due to local, highly placed political leaders and officials, this illegal mining is being carried out unchecked. The nexus between mining mafia and political leaders is so strong that the district magistrate who tried to follow the existing high court order in this regard was transferred.
“I, therefore, request you to take cognisance of this illegal sand mining taking place in Gonda and use your good offices to instruct the departments concerned to bring an end to this menace, which would not only save the ecology of the area but also help to check any major rail mishap in future,” Singh had said in his letter.
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