Jaleswar: Following an order from the National Green Tribunal (NGT), a team of experts from Balasore visited several riparian villages along river Subarnarekha under Jaleswar block Thursday.
A row has been prevailing over the years as sand mafia from West Bengal has been mining sand from the river despite opposition from Odisha.
The expert team comprising regional director of CPCB (eastern zone) Dr RC Saxena, environmental scientist Dr Rita Shah, Dr PK Borei, Dr Biswajit Pal and chief engineer (environment) of OSPCB Dr Nihar Ranjan Sahu visited Bilashpur, Makidia, Kuanrpur, Totapada, Beherasahi, Makrampur, Gobarghata, Dakhinaprharajpur, Mohammednagar, Patna (A,B,C and D) and Seksarai (A and B)
The team inspected the sand quarries in the river for eight hours and saw how sand was being illegally quarried with swamp pumps and JCB machines. Farmland and embankments in the areas have been affected by rampant sanding mining.
The team was accompanied by ADM Manasranjan Padhi, tehsildar Abhimanyu Panda, SDPO Ramachandra Goud, Jaleswar IIC Pradip Kumar Majhi, Raibani IIC Rabindranath Bahara and police force.
The expert team will prepare a detailed report on the illegal sand mining and its impacts. The report will be submitted to the NGT.
Notably, the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had directed the District Magistrate (DM) of Balasore to ensure that all illegal activities on Subarnarekha and its banks are stopped.
In its order, the NGT said the issue of illegal sand mining on Subarnarekha is being examined by a committee. The tribunal asked the Balasore administration to stop all illegal activities like sand mining.
The NGT said in its order, “The allegation in this application is that illegal sand mining is being carried out on the banks of the Subarnarekha River. The specific area mentioned is Sekhsarai Mouza in Jaleswar tehsil of Balasore district.”