Baripada: The state government has allegedly lost over Rs 100 crore due to illegal extraction and transportation of sand from two quarries on the Budhabalanga river in Mayurbhanj district.
The matter came to the fore after the eastern zone bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) at Kolkata sought reply from the Union and state governments on the issue.
The bench comprising Justice B Amit Sthalekar and expert member Saibal Dasgupta issued the order over a complaint filed by Radha Mohan Singh.
Over 16 senior officials of state and Union governments have been made parties in the case. The bench also directed to constitute a four member committee and undertake investigations and submit a report before it within a month.
The committee will comprise a senior scientist of State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (EIAA), a senior scientist of State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), the district Collector or his authorised representative and the district mines officer.
All the members have been directed to visit the two sand quarries and review the charges and submit a report before the tribunal within a period of one month.
The matter is scheduled for next hearing April 22. Reports said that the two sand quarries on Budhabalanga river are Dingira and Arapata quarries under Badasahi tehsil.
Both the quarries have been given out on lease for five years. The environmental clearance valid till March 2021 had been given for excavation of 9 CUM sand from 16.12 acre of land in Dingira quarry.
However, the miners continued mining sand from the quarry despite expiry of the environmental clearance, the complainant has mentioned in his petition.
The petitioner has further stated that the miner is permitted to extract 20,00,00 CUM of sand annually as per contract.
However, they are illegally extracting 2,295 CUM sand daily from the riverbed with the help of heavy equipment which is 240 times more than the permissible limits.
As a result, the state government has lost Rs 43.68 crore as revenue due to illegal mining in this quarry.
Similarly, the environmental clearance for mining of 10 CUM of sand is valid till March 31, 2021 on Arapata quarry of Budhabalanga river.
The illegal mining from the quarry continues unabated even after expiry of the environmental clearance. The miner has been directed to annually extract 2,200 CUM of sand from a depth of 1,000 feet.
However, the miner has been illegally extracting 2,970 CUM of sands daily from the quarry in violation of the order. The total extraction of sand is 240 times more than the permissible limits.
As a result, the state government has lost precious revenue worth Rs 53.26 crore, the complainant has mentioned in the petition.
Taken together, the state government has lost precious revenue worth over Rs 100 crores from these two quarries.