Green tribunal to UP: Show us you mean business on sand mining ban

PTI New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on August 23, 2013

The National Green Tribunal had on August 5 banned sand mining without clearance in the beds and banks of rivers across the country.

The National Green Tribunal today directed Uttar Pradesh Government to show by August 29 “definitive results” of the action taken by it to ensure implementation of the tribunal’s order banning illegal sand mining in rivers and beaches across the country.

A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar warned the State Government that if it does not show by the next date of hearing that it “means business” with regard to implementation of ban on sand mining as well as taking action against the perpetrators, its officials “will have a tough time”.

“Better show us some result that you (UP) mean business, else your officials will have a tough time. Show us definitive results about how many people have been sent to jail. The number of heavy mining machinery seized, damages imposed upon those engaged in sand mining without clearance, etc.

“Do not bring to us people who are mining in small quantities. We want to know what action has been taken against the big people/miners,” the bench told the counsel appearing for UP government and listed the matter on August 29.

The directions were given after the UP government informed the Bench that it has filed an action taken report stating that it has, since the August 5 order banning sand mining without clearance, registered FIRs against a couple of persons engaged in illegal mining.

Not satisfied with the report, the Bench told the State Government’s counsel that according to several news reports, illegal sand mining continued even after its August 5 order, with pictures showing heavy mining machinery and trucks being used for the purpose.

The Bench also rejected the UP government’s plea for exempting its officials — Deputy Commissioner and Senior Superintendent of Police of Gautam Budh Nagar — from personal appearance before the NGT on August 29.

The tribunal also asked senior advocate Raj Panjwani, representing the NGT Bar Association on whose plea the ban on illegal sand mining was imposed, to bring to the Bench any one instance/case of sand mining in Noida, UP.

Meanwhile, hearing on Madhya Pradesh government’s application for modification of the August 5 order was adjourned to August 29, after counsel appearing for the State said they have not received the Supreme Court’s August 16 order directing the NGT to pass orders on the state’s plea within a week.

“The counsel for state of Madhya Pradesh submits she is not in possession of the Supreme Court order and prays that their application be listed on an adjourned date. Matter adjourned to August 29,” the tribunal, which took up the matter in view of the apex court’s direction, said.

On August 14, the last date of hearing, the UP government had reluctantly admitted that illegal sand mining was going on in the State and not a single environmental clearance has been granted for it in Gautam Budh Nagar district.

Subsequent to the submission, the Bench had directed the Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police of Gautam Budh Nagar to personally appear before it on August 29 to show cause why appropriate action be not taken against them for not checking illegal sand mining.

The tribunal had also banned beach sand mineral mining in Tamil Nadu and Kerala after Panjwani had apprised it about unauthorised mining on the beaches of the two States.

The NGT had on August 5 banned sand mining without clearance in the beds and banks of rivers across the country and had issued notices to all the States seeking their replies on a petition contending that rampant illegal mining and transportation of lakhs of tonnes of sand are being carried out every year, causing loss of lakhs of crores of rupees to the state exchequer.

The petition also alleged that those who have opposed such sand mining, including field level officers like suspended SDM Durga Shakti Nagpal, have been victimised.

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Published on August 23, 2013
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