Bhubaneswar: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned sand mining along the Subarnarekha river in the disputed areas of Jaleswar.
The development comes after a report submitted by a joint inspection committee which cited several violations of mining and environmental laws by sand miners of the area.
“With regard to the adverse finding of the joint Inspection Committee contained in the report, we direct that there shall be no mining of sand until further orders,” the order said.
It also added, “In any case, the Sustainable Sand Mining Management Policy Guidelines, 2016 and the notifications issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forest pursuant thereto prohibits sand mining during the monsoons.”
The NGT said that the inspection report hinted flouting of several rules by the miners. “The report of the committee has been placed before us for consideration. On perusal of the said report, we find that gross infractions are being committed by the Respondents.”
The inspection report claimed that machines were used in sand mining against the rules while trucks carrying the sand were also not covered as per rules. It was also discovered that the amount of mining was more than prescribed.
The petitioners in the case alleged that villagers of Panchughanta in the district were adversely affected by rampant and illegal sand mining in the areas.
The petition said that truckloads of sand were transported through the village roads, thereby polluting the area. It was also stated that excavators and other heavy machines were used in mining.
The report also cited a lack of monitoring by the local administration in the case besides several other violations of rules. Earlier, the NGT had directed the State Pollution Control Board, Balasore Collector and others to visit the site and submit an inspection report to the tribunal.