Sand mining on Yamuna banks: NGT takes notice, forms joint committee
The bench also ruled that the applicant may serve a set of papers to CPCB, Haryana pollution control board and Yamunanagar district magistrate within two weeks and file affidavit of service via email
Following the complaints of rampant and large-scale sand mining on Yamuna banks, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued directions to the Haryana government and formed a joint committee under the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
Hearing the complaint filed by Yamunanagar-based farmer Kiran Pal Rana, the bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel ruled that the joint committee comprising CPCB, Haryana state pollution control board and Yamunanagar district magistrate with regard to the area in Haryana should furnish a factual and action-taken report within three months, while scheduling the next hearing on January 6, 2021.
The bench also ruled that the applicant may serve a set of papers to CPCB, Haryana pollution control board and Yamunanagar district magistrate within two weeks and file affidavit of service via email.
In his complaint, the farmer alleged that in the lack of action by the authorities concerned, illegal mechanised in-stream riverbed mining was taking place on the banks of Yamuna river in Gumthala’s north and south blocks in Yamunanagar and near Nangla Rai village of Kairana block in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli.
He claimed that the mining mafia carried out the illegal mining activities during the lockdown, which is also a violation of guidelines issued under the Environment (Protection) Act as well as the sustainable sand mining guidelines issued by the ministry of environment, forest and climate change.
“The illegal mining activities have changed the course of the river as the miners have created embankments to stop the flow besides building illegal bridges on the river,” he added.
The complainant also mentioned a CAG report based on geospatial studies in June last year with critical findings regarding the illegal sand mining in Yamunanagar and resultant loss of revenue to the government.
“In the last two years, six children have died by falling in deep mining pits in Yamunanagar, Panipat and Shamli. The miners have illegally excavated about 50 acres in Tajewala village and sold material worth around ₹155 crore, causing revenue loss of around ₹21 crore to the exchequer,” the complainant said.
“Though the local administration has taken cognisance of the issue and ordered an inquiry, there is no information on what disciplinary actions have been taken against the violators involved,” he added.
Reacting to the NGT orders, Haryana state pollution control board member secretary S Narayanan said, “Directions in this regard have been issued and the state pollution control board will comply with the orders of the green tribunal.”
In his response over the allegations, Yamunanagar deputy commissioner Mukul Kumar said, “Action is being taken as per the law and we will ensure compliance with the NGT orders.”