The principal bench of National Green Tribunal on Friday lifted the ban on sand mining in the rivers in Madhya Pradesh.
The tribunal’s decision, however, came with a rider that the sand mine operators, who were issued environmental clearance by the state environment impact assessment authority (SEIAA) on the condition that they would not indulge in mining activities during monsoon period till October 31, have to comply with the same.
On July 20, the central bench of the green tribunal in Bhopal had directed the state government to stop sand mining on all riverbeds of the state during the monsoon months (from June 1 to Octover 31) to protect aquatic life forms, which is the breeding season.
Counsel for the state pollution control board Parul Bhadoriya said the ban was lifted as a temporary relief as there were no rains in the state at present.
“The principal bench has asked the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) to come up with guidelines for sand mining during monsoon, especially in case of Madhya Pradesh,” she added.
Of the 124 sand mining leases that can operate legally in the state, the SEIAA had given environmental clearance to 61 with a condition that sand mining would be permissible only from November 1 to May 31. But the central bench of NGT had extended the ban to all 124 mines.
Later on September 30, the case was transferred to the principal bench to decide if the stay on sand mining would continue.
The principal bench of the tribunal in Delhi vacated the stay on sand mining while hearing the case on Friday, which came as a major relief for the sand truck owners and CREDAI.