Illegal sand mining rampant along Yamuna: Panel
With IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal being suspended for taking action against the sand mafia, a three-member central panel set up by the union environment ministry has found evidence of illegal sand mining in Gautam Budh Nagar district.
The panel, in its report submitted to environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan on Saturday, said, ‘In view of the observations of the committee, existing legal frame work and the directions given by the various courts for mining of minor minerals it is evident that rampant, unscientific and illegal mining has been going on at various locations in the Gautam Budh Nagar District along the Yamuna River.’
The report also stated, ‘This is in violation of the environmental regulations, the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 and the directions given by the Supreme Court, High Court of Allahabad and NGT New Delhi.’
The report brings to light incidents of ecological violations in the area and has also given photographic evidence of the havoc caused by the illegal mining. The committee headed by Saroj, a director in the environment ministry, was asked to enquire into adverse environmental impact of alleged illegal sand mining in the UP district.
The committee members along with three mining officials from UP Mine and Geology Department and DFO, Gautam Budh Nagar Forest Department visited sites on 7 August along Yamuna and Hindon. The team members said villagers told them that sand mining activities have been carried out in the area.
The panel was informed that some of the villagers lend their farms for storing the sand and it is lifted as and when it is economically viable. At Mamnathal village (confluence of river Yamuna and Hindon), deep excavated areas were noticed along the river bank indicating lifting of sand, the report said.
‘The path towards the bank had impressions of movement of heavy vehicles. At a distance of about 1 km, there was a small building where a JCB (earthmover) was seen which is evident from photograph,’ the report said.