Bhubaneswar: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the Odisha government to furnish an action plan on the ways the state and the district administration have planned to fight the menace of illegal laterite mining in Khurda district.
In its written order, the tribunal has asked the state government to furnish details of the action plan and inform the bench about the assessment of damage from the area due to the illegal mining and assessment of environment compensation which should be done in consultation with the Central Pollution Control Board. It has also asked about the plans the district administration has about the restitution and restoration of the area.
The NGT has mandated the state government to submit their action plan within a month. In the written order of the tribunal, it said, “The above action being unavoidable and mandatory for the State to undertake, we direct that the action plan be filed within one month from hence which shall also contain the timelines for completion of the action plan.”
The petitioner in the case cited ongoing menace of illegal mining in the areas where the tribunal had asked the state government to curb illegal mining of laterite and take actions. In the written tribunal order, the petitioner has been asked to submit the evidence and documents relating to the defiance of the NGT orders. The next hearing of the matter has been fixed for February 24 this year.
The District Collector and the Joint Committee, in their inspection report, had earlier admitted that illegal laterite quarrying or ‘rat hole mining’ has been rampant in 214 acres of land. In the last report, which was in pursuance with the site visit November 1, 2019, they claimed that the presence of constant enforcement has stopped illegal mining.
Citing defiance of the order of NGT, the aggrieved villagers recently also had written to the Khurda Collector, State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), district police and others to intervene in the matter and ensure compliance of the NGT orders seeking immediate stop to the illegal mining activities in the area.