NGT fines Goa govt for failing to check sand mining, sets a deadline
The National Green Tribunal has directed the forfeiture of Rs 20-lakh that the Goa Government had deposited with the Central Pollution Control Board over its failure to put in place mechanisms to rein in illegal sand extraction in the state.
The State Government had assured the National Green Tribunal that it would set up a network of CCTV cameras to help track down those involved in illegal sand mining taking place in the Chapora River in North Goa that was threatening the stability of a riverine island known as ‘Zuvem de Tuem’.
However on account of repeated delays, an irate NGT had directed the State government to deposit a performance guarantee of Rs 20-lakh if they could not complete the installation on time.
“Having failed to comply with the directions… the performance guarantee of Rs 20-lakh shall stand forfeited. While ordering so, we direct the State of Goa to complete the entire work within two months… subject to deposit of further performance guarantee of Rs 20-lakh with the CPCB within 10 days from hence which naturally shall be forfeited if the timeline prescribed herein is not adhered to,” the NGT ruled.
The cameras were to be installed latest by April this year, but when the matter came up, the counsel representing the state government sought two more months to complete the work.
The NGT also warned of an additional forfeiture of Rs 20-lakh if the cameras were not installed in the next two months.
“We find this to be another ruse to delay the process,” the NGT said when the state sought more time.
In November 2017, the State had undertaken to complete the process within two months but as of February this year it was found that the work had still not been done which prompted the NGT to seek performance guarantees.
Sand extraction has been stalled in the state on account of various orders of courts and the National Green Tribunal as the extraction threatened riverine islands and plantations along river banks.