Green Tribunal bans both legal, illegal sand mining on Yamuna

The National Green Tribunal on Monday banned sand mining on the Yamuna after a plea alleged that some private firms were engaged in the activity and a temporary bridge was made on the river obstructing its natural flow of water.

“No mining activity, both legal and illegal, should be carried out on the banks of river Yamuna till the next date of hearing. A local commissioner and a representative of Ministry of Environment and Forest should file their joint inspection report by December 27, the next date of hearing of the matter,” a Bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar said.

The panel was hearing a plea filed by NGT Bar Association in which it was alleged that some land mafias were indulged in illegal sand mining on either side of banks of Yamuna at Gautam Budh Nagar area of Uttar Pradesh and Faridabad area of Haryana. The Bench directed the Uttar Pradesh government to seize all the material and machinery used in the area of its jurisdiction for the mining activity.

It also constituted a committee of senior officers of both Uttar Pradesh and Haryana and directed the district magistrate of areas concerned and member secretary of respective pollution control boards to file their status report by next date of hearing.

The green panel also directed the chief engineer of irrigation department of both the states to file a report on the damage done to the river due to sand bags, laying of hose pipes and construction materials.

It also directed both the states to file the estimated cost for the removal of sand bags and hose pipes laid on the river obstructing the natural flow of water.

The panel issued notice to two firms engaged in mining and show caused their directors as why it should not direct complete seizure of material and machines and why they should not be directed to pay the compensation for the damage done to the ecology and environment.

During the hearing, counsel for Uttar Pradesh alleged that people from Haryana were engaged in illegal sand mining on the banks of Yamuna and they claim to have environmental clearances from the state. Counsel for Haryana claimed that no illegal sand mining was being carried out in their area and the firms who are engaged in sand mining have necessary environmental clearances. 

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