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Durga suspension row: Panel to probe illegal sand mining

Durga suspension row: Panel to probe illegal sand mining
Taking cognisance of reports in media on illegal sand mining in Gautam Budh Nagar, the Ministry of Environment & Forests has constituted a committee to enquire into the adverse environmental impact of the alleged sand mining in the area. The committe would submit its report to the ministry by 9 August.

The office order of the Ministry said, ‘With a view to enquiring into the allegations of illegal sand mining widely reported in the electronic as well as the print media, with visuals of heavy machinery being used in illegal sand mining in Gautam Budh Nagar, Uttar Pradesh, in order to ascertain the factual position and with a view to suggesting further course of action in the matter, Ministry of Environment & Forests hereby constitutes the following committee under the chairpersonship of Saroj, director, MoEF’.

The other members of the committee are – GC Meena, deputy collector of mines, incharge Dehradun office of IBM, Dehradun and KK Garg, director, regional office of MoEF, Lucknow. The secretarial assistance to the committee will be provided by the regional office of MoEF, Lucknow.
The order also said that pursuant to orders of the Supreme Court, the handling of prior environment clearance cases of mining of minor minerals, including sand, of lease area upto 5 ha was delegated by the ministry to the concerned State Environment Impact Assessment Authorities (SEIAAs).

‘The cases of mining of minor minerals, involving lease area between 5 ha to 50 ha were already being handled by the SEIAAs even before the issuance of this OM. MoEF deals with the cases of environment clearance in respect of projects of mining of minor minerals with lease area equal to or above 50 ha. No sand mining from any mining can take place without obtaining prior environment clearance, said the ministry’s office order constituting the committee.

Meanwhile, a 10-member team of the ministry of environment and forests inspected some of the most mining-prone sites in villages such as Kondli, Gulabli, Jatta, Badli, Nangli Wajidpur and Naipur. They carried the inspection without officials from the district administration. The officials videographed sites where mining was rampant. They, however, refused to share the details of the inspection with the media.
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