Baripada: The Mayurbhanj district administration has found itself in a soup again after a case was filed at the National Green Tribunal (NGT) over illegal sand mining and smuggling from Mahupura sand quarry in Budhabalanga river.
The recent case has added to the woes of the district administration which had earlier been pulled up by the NGT over illegal sand mining and smuggling from two sand quarries in Budhabalanga river. The NGT had earlier sought report from the district administration over illegal sand mining and smuggling from Arapata and Dingira sand quarries in Budhabalanga river.
The matter came up before the NGT after Radha Mohan Singh, a resident of Chhelia village under Badasahi block filed a petition (case no-40.2022/EZ) before the green body in this regard.
Judicial Member Justice B Amit Sthalekar and expert member Saibal Dasgupta admitted the matter for hearing and made three senior officers of the district administration as party in the case.
The NGT also directed the district administration to form a five member team and conduct a probe into the charges and file the report within four weeks.
Reports said that the Mahupura sand quarry in Budhabalanga river under Badasahi tehsil has been leased out for five years since 2016. The environmental clearance was granted for sand mining on 13.72 acre of land (plot no-253 and khata no-175) lift 10 cubic metre of sand daily till March 31, 2021.
However, sand mining continued for over a year even after expiry of the lease term. The quarry had 36, 9127 cubic metre of sand in store, but the tehsildar and mining officer mentioned in record that only 2,000 cubic metre of sand is in store in the quarry.
The environmental clearance was meant for extracting 2,200 cubic metre of sand by digging for one metre depth but the leaseholder has dug up the riverbed for over 10 metre and extracted 2040 cubic metre of sand with heavy equipment like Poclain.
Meanwhile, over 4, 28,000 lakh cubic metre of sand has been extracted in a year which is much higher than the permissible limits, the complainant has alleged in his petition.
He pointed out that as a result, the Odisha government has lost revenue worth several crores during this period. The matter has been scheduled for next hearing May 23.