Locals in Haryana’s Kanalsi village flag fresh mining violations across Yamuna
Residents of Yamunanagar’s Kanalsi village have claimed that mining contractors are constructing illegal bunds across the Yamuna, in blatant violation of environmental norms, so as to reach the riverbed to carry out sand excavation.
This even as the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has formed a joint committee under the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) after receiving similar complaints of illegal mining activities in July this year.
Pictures and videos released by river activists and residents of the village purportedly show contractors using heavy machines and trucks to carry out mining in the flowing river.
When contacted, Bhim Singh Rawat, associate coordinator of South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), said, “The pictures from the site are extremely shocking. Contractors are violating several norms by carrying out midstream mining, constructing a bund (partial), plying heavy vehicles inside active current and deploying heavy machines in the river channel. They also did not install closed-circuit television cameras at the mining site, which is mandatory.”
“These activities will have an adverse impact on the aquatic biodiversity and also destabilise the river banks, leading to erosion,” he said.
When contacted, Yamunanagar deputy commissioner Mukul Kumar said, “The matter was highlighted by some people and teams have been formed to look into the matter but as of now there are no reports of violations of the norms.”
Earlier in July, while hearing a complaint on large-scale mining on Yamuna banks, filed by a local farmer Kiran Pal Rana, the NGT bench headed by chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel ruled that with regards to the area under Haryana, the joint committee, comprising CPCB, Haryana state pollution control board (HSPCB) and Yamunanagar district magistrate, should furnish a factual and action-taken report within three months, and scheduled the next hearing on January 6, 2021.
In the complaint, Rana had alleged that illegal mining activities have not only changed the course of the river but in the last two years, six children have died by falling into the deep mining pits in Yamunanagar, Panipat of Haryana and Shamli of Uttar Pradesh.
Reacting to the fresh violations, HSPCB member secretary S Narayanan said, “I have directed the regional officer to take immediate action. He has taken up the matter with the district administration, mining and irrigation department for action.”