The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday pulled up Uttar Pradesh and Haryana government officials for failing to submit a status report on sand mining in their respective areas and construction of two illegal bridges across the Yamuna last year.
An NGT bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar expressed anger to officials of the irrigation, geological and mining departments of the two states for not complying with its order.
The court had on February 3 directed the heads of the departments to submit a detailed report on sand mining and the illegal bridges. NGT had also directed officials to submit a report on how these illegal activities have damaged the ecosystem of the Yamuna. The officials were to file their reports on February 5. The NGT also asked the officials to submit their affidavits along with the reports.
The green court issued the order on a petition filed by NGT Bar association on November 2, 2015. The association had filed the petition after HT on October 24, 2015, reported that the sand mafia had built the illegal bridges to transport sand between the two states.
The petition alleges that mining carried out without obtaining clearances from the ministry of environment and forests and the state environment impact assessment authority (SEIAA) or licence from the competent authorities was causing severe damage to the ecology of the Yamuna.
“This is surprising that officials from two states came to the NGT but failed to give the reason why they have not yet filed a status report. They will now have to submit their replies in the next two weeks,” said Raj Panjwani, advocate, president of NGT Bar association.
The next hearing is scheduled for February 22.
Mining officer of Gautam Budh Nagar Naveen Kumar Das said they have already filed a status report in this case when the hearing began last year. Das, who attended the hearing, said the officials
concerned will now have to decide on a future course of action.