The National Green Tribunal on Thursday issued bailable warrants against 17 persons for carrying out illegal sand mining from the Yamuna in Gautam Budh Nagar district comprising Noida and Greater Noida.
The action came after the Uttar Pradesh government on August 29 filed a report and named 18 persons for illegal mining even after an order of the tribunal, banning all mining without requisite clearances, given on August 5.
The tribunal had ordered the district administration to issue notices to all the accused to appear and explain why they should not be punished and made to pay for damaging the river floodplain.
Senior advocate Raj Panjwani told HT: "Only one person appeared. Bailable warrants have been issued against all others."
The Gautam Budh Nagar administration also informed the tribunal that the police had arrested 11 persons, including owners of JCB earth-moving machines and trucks, and sent them to jail in connection with the theft of 80% of the illegally-mined sand, which was seized by the authorities, got stolen in Gautam Budh Nagar.
The bench ordered all the 11 accused be produced before the tribunal on the next date of hearing.
Hindustan Times in August had carried a front-page story “Now, sand seized by Durga stolen.”
The police filed two FIRs for the theft on August 13 and 14.”
IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal, suspended (and later reinstated) for taking on the sand mafia, is reported to have seized 2,00,777 cubic meters of sand worth Rs. 8 crore.