NGT raps Himachal chief secy, DGP over illegal mining in Swan river
The petitioner alleged that unscientific mining by using earth movers, in utter violation of the norms and under the nose of the local district administration, was causing constant danger to the river and to the channelisation work
The National Green Tribunal has directed the Himachal Pradesh chief secretary and DGP to hold in-house brainstorming session with other departments to deal with illegal mining in Swan river and uphold the law instead of private interest of mining mafia.
They may take stock of the situation and plan further course of action to prevent illegal mining, register criminal cases for offences involved, ensure seizure of vehicles involved in crime, assess and recover compensation for the violations, take action of cancellation of leases for violations, revocation of consents, criminal prosecution and other steps for protection and restoration of environment, said the tribunal.
The orders were passed by the principal bench comprising NGT chairman Justice Adarsh Kumar Goyal and members Justice Sudhir Agarwal, Justice Brijesh Sethi and expert member Nagin Nanda on a petition filed by one Amandeep regarding illegal mining in Som Bhadra (Swan river) in Una.
The petitioner alleged that unscientific mining by using earth movers, in utter violation of the norms and under the nose of the local district administration, was causing constant danger to the river and to the channelisation work.
The courts ordered that carrying capacity study must be conducted with a view to determine the number of leases to be granted and inter-se distance to be maintained for the same.
Monitoring mechanism in place must be reviewed in the light of startling revelation of the continuing failure of the authorities and colluding officers may be identified and made accountable under the environment, criminal and service laws.
First such meeting may be organised within 15 days from the order to take stock of the situation and to plan remedial action.
The chief secretary and HP DGP may remain personally present by videoconferencing with their action taken reports on next date of hearing, said the green court.
Citing the reports by district magistrate Una and five-member independent committee constituted by it, the NGT expressed shock at the extent of violations and helpless shown in taking remedial action. “There appears to be laxity on the part of the police in not controlling overloading of trucks, illegal and mining. Equal failure is of mining department. So is the failure of the State Pollution Control Board and State Environment Impact Assessment Authority for inaction against violation,” said the court.
The next of hearing has been fixed on November 10.