The National Green Tribunal on Monday banned sand mining on the Yamuna floodplains, while hearing a plea that alleged that private firms were involved in the illegal activity and were even building a bridge across the river to transport the sand.
With the river banks coming under the jurisdiction of Haryana’s Faridabad and Uttar Pradesh’s Noida, the green court cancelled the licence given by the Haryana government to two sand mining agencies. Gautam Budh Nagar officials said they had not issued any licence for the activity since 2013.
“No mining activity, both legal and illegal, should be carried out on the banks of river Yamuna till the next date of hearing. A local commissioner and a representative of Ministry of Environment and Forest should file their joint inspection report by December 27, the next date of hearing of the matter,” a bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar said.
The bench directed the Uttar Pradesh government to seize all the material and machinery used in the area of its jurisdiction for the mining activity. It also directed both the states to file the estimated cost for the removal of sand bags and hose pipes laid on the river.
The green court was hearing a petition filed by NGT Bar Association based on HT’s report highlighting that some private firms were building bridges on either side of the Yamuna floodplain to smuggle illegally mined sand between the two states.
“The tribunal has also formed a high-level committee that will conduct on-site inspections to contain sand mining in the two states,” said Raj Panjwani, president of NGT Bar association.
(With PTI inputs)