The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday took cognizance of activist Medha Patkar’s complaint regarding continuing of illegal sand mining in the submergence area of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) in MP and appointed a commissioner to verify the ground reality.
The commissioner, Ajay Gupta and advocate Dharamvir Sharma will be accompanied by Patkar or her representative to spots identified by her in four districts -- Barwani, Dhar, Alirajpur and Khargone -- and will submit a report to the Tribunal in the next hearing.
The Tribunal gave these directions while hearing a case filed by Patkar. The next hearing of the case in on January 8.
In addition, a revenue and mining officer accompanying the commissioner will take measurements from the identified areas for alleged illegal mining and assess the quantity of the mineral excavated from the spots. The commissioner will give his opinion on the results, particularly with reference to the impact on the environment, said the tribunal.
According to Patkar, illegal sand mining continued in the SSP submergence areas despite the MP high court staying all mining operations there in May.
Last month, the NGT had issued a notice to the state environment impact assessment authority (SIEAA) regarding mining in the submergence area of SSP in the Alirajpur district.
On Friday, the SEIAA submitted its reply, saying that in Alirajpur district, it had granted 30 environment clearances out of 33 mining leases sanctioned and stated that “no mining lease has been granted in the submergence area… This fact has been stated after verifying the information from the Land Acquisition and Resettlement Officer of the Sardar Sarovar Project as well as the mining department District Alirajpur.”
NGT directed SEIAA to prepare and submit to it a sketch map with the locations of the 30 mining leases to whom ECs had been granted.