Bhubaneswar/Dhenkanal: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered setting up of a special committee to examine the allegations regarding illegal murram mining in forest and non-forest areas of Parjang and Kamakshyanagar in Dhenkanal district.
The order comes following a petition by one Santanu Kumar Bhukta before the NGT challenging the alleged illegal mining of murram and soil from the area in violation of the established laws concerning forests and mining.
The tribunal bench headed by Justice B Amit Sthalekar and Saibal Gupta, an expert member, has issued a notice to the Dhenkanal district administration, state government, miners and others in this connection and sought their response on the matter.
“In our opinion, the matter requires consideration as a considerable question of environment arises,” the NGT order said.
It added, “We are constituting a committee comprising the following members — Dhenkanal Collector, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Dhenkanal, Member Secretary, State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), and a senior scientist of Integrated Regional Office of Ministry of Forest and Environment.”
The tribunal said that the Integrated Regional Office of the ministry would act as the nodal office for all logistic purposes.
The bench has asked the committee to report before the NGT on the allegations of illegal mining of murram and soil and also regarding felling of trees on the site without required approvals.
They have also been asked to report on the environmental degradation due to the alleged action and cost of restitution from the actions. The panel has been given four weeks’ time to submit its report before the NGT.
The respondents in the case have also been asked to file their views on the issue within the same time period. The petitioner had alleged that Sal trees on site were felled for the works without any approval from the Forest department, as mandated under the law.
The petition had alleged that the works undertaken in the area were illegal in nature and in contravention of the established laws. The tribunal is now slated to hear the matter again July 6.