Environmentalists have termed as “eyewash” an inspection by a team of Union ministry of environment and forest along the banks of the Yamuna to guage the damage by illegal sand mining.
A 10-member team from the ministry, accompanied by Gautam Budh Nagar district mining inspector Ashish Kumar, visited Yamuna’s floodplains in the villages Kondli Bangar, Garbara and Momnathal on Wednesday.
“Kumar has been transferred but we gave him the temporary charge and sent him with the Central team since he knows about sand mining spots,” said Bachchu Singh sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Sadar area.
Local environmentalists and social activists, who were helping Nagpal in her crusade against illegal sand mining, could not meet the team.
“They collected samples of sand at some places, clicked pictures and went away without visiting the hotspots of illegal sand mining. They did not go deep into villages like Ramnagar, Kambakshpur and Jhatta along Yamuna, where sand mafia has stored huge amounts of illegal sand,” said an official, requesting anonymity.
Environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan on Sunday had ordered an investigation into illegal sand mining in Gautam Budh Nagar.
“The team should have visited on a day when it was not raining. Also, they should have talked to local environmentalists, who know the mining spots. Their drive is just eyewash,” said Vikrant Tongad, an environmentalist, who couldn’t meet the central team.“Their report will not be comprehensive since they failed to touch upon the real issues. In Kambakshpur they would have seen how Yamuna has changed its course towards Noida because of illegal sand mining,” said Akash Vashishtha, a petitioner, who is fighting to protect Yamuna and Hindon.