Commissioners appointed by National Green Tribunal (NGT) submitted their report to the tribunal on Wednesday on illegal sand mining in four districts of Madhya Pradesh under the submergence area of Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP).
The report based on field inspections by the commissioners in December and January along with activist Medha Patkar has listed the illegal sand mining and violation of various environmental norms in four districts - Barwani, Dhar, Alirajpur and Khargone. HT has a copy of the report.
Responding to the report, NGT has issued notices to the collectors of these four districts to respond through an affidavit by February 26; the next date of hearing in the case.
The case was being heard in the high court before it was transferred to NGT in July 2015. Following activist Medha Patkar’s complaint about illegal sand mining, NGT appointed a team of two commissioners last month to verify the ground reality and submit a report to the tribunal.
Senior advocate Ajay Gupta was appointed the commissioner while advocate Dharamvir Sharma was appointed as co-commissioner.
The officers visited various places of Dhar and Barwani districts on December 16-17 and Khargone, Alirajpur and Dhar on January 22, 23 and 24, along with Medha Patkar.
Main findings of the report
At Nimbola and Bhogava in Dhar district, the revenue and mining officers said, two leases for sand mining in four hectare area were allotted to Shiva Corporation, but they couldn’t identify the area allotted for mining. There were no boundary and not even a revenue map to locate the land.
At village Gogowa and Mahapura in Dhar district, there were visible signs of illegal sand mining, with local patwari acknowledging his ignorance about the area allotted.
At Bada Barda village in Dhar district, rampant illegal sand mining was seen including excavation of the banks.
At Khedli Piplud village in Barwani district, there were signs of sand mining even as permission couldn’t be given in the area.
Lepa village in the submergence of the Maheshwar dam in Khargone district, the team found farmers and thieves excavating sand from the area.
At Balgoan in Khargone district, illegal sand mining was going on in the area despite no mining permission.
In Alirajpur district, three sand mines had been allotted, which were on the river bed of the river Hathni, a tributary of Narmada. The team also found two boats fitted with heavy pumps, used to draw sand from the flowing water.
At Pendra village in Barwani district, some miscreants had deliberately dug the road and put bushes into it to block the inspection team. But the team went ahead after removing the blockage.
Medha Patkar on the report
Medha Patkar told HT that the report exposed the tall claims of the authorities regarding mining activities. “Now the state government and NGT should take strict action against those responsible for the illegal mining and violation of various environmental norms. I have also submitted a list of people, including politicians, to the Tribunal who are responsible for this mess”, she said.