Bhubaneswar: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has now come down heavily against the Keonjhar district administration and the State Government for their alleged failure to curb illegal mining in the region.
The NGT was hearing a petition related to rampant illegal laterite mining in the Madanpur area under the Ghasipura region. It was during this hearing that the NGT pulled up the district administration and made scathing remarks.
In its written tribunal order the NGT said, “The status report reveals lawlessness in the area as illegal mining is being given a free run and no effective measures have been taken to stop such activities. Sporadic action which appears to have been taken would not amount to effective action for protection of the environment. From the rampant illegal mining going on in the area, we can reasonably infer that there is something dark at the bottom.”
The NGT also slammed the district administration for putting blame on the villagers for illegal mining in its status report.
The tribunal said, “Photographs demonstrate that JCBs are being used for extracting mineral and the mining activity is being carried out in a large scale, organised manner. Hence it is difficult to accept that it is the villagers who are doing it for domestic use as claimed in the report filed by the district administration.”
The NGT claimed that the rampant illegal mining is being carried out ‘with impunity’ and the amounts recovered admittedly are against royalty that penalty should be imposed on the violators of mining rules. It also castigated the State Government for failing to start prosecution against the offenders.
In its latest order, the NGT has asked the district administration to take steps expeditiously to prevent further illegal mining in the area. The NGT has asked the State Government and Keonjhar district administration to seize the illegally mined minerals and to carry out rehabilitation of the mining-degraded land. It has also asked for assessment of damages caused to environment by illegal mining. The NGT has also asked the Collector and SP of Keonjhar to deploy security personnel for effective implementation of the NGT directions.