Illegal sand mining: NGT defers hearing to July 3
Jaleswar: Even as the mafia from West Bengal has been illegally mining sand over the years from the bed of river Subarnarekha in Jaleswar block of Balasore district, the principal bench of the NGT at New Delhi Wednesday deferred its hearing of a case related to illegal sand mining to July 3.
The Bengal mafia has been plundering sand with impunity from the riverbed at Bilashpur, Rajnagar, Makidia, Kuanrpur, Dakhina Praharajpur, Beherasahi, Makarpur and other areas while the state government has to lose crores of rupees towards revenue every year. Hundreds of high-powered pump sets have been engaged to lift sand from deep under the bed.
The rampant sanding mining with swamp pumps has caused cracks in houses in the riparian region, apart from leading to collapse of riverbanks. Acres of land have already vanished into the river.
Taking serious note of the impacts of rampant sand mining on the ecology, life and property of people, social activist and convenor of Jaleswar Bikash Manch, Sudarshan Das, had moved the NGT in Kolkata against the Collector and the SP of West Midnapore district about a year ago.
The NGT had directed the Collector and the SP of West Midnapore to seize the machines of the mafia and take steps to stop sand quarrying.
Despite the NGT order, the Collector and the SP of West Midnapore had not taken any step to put curbs on illegal sand mining.
Upset, Das appealed to the principal bench of NGT in February, 2018 for quick hearing of the case. The NGT had fixed May 9 as date of hearing, but the West Bengal administration moved time petition, citing its preoccupation with upcoming panchayat elections. It urged the NGT to defer the hearing to another date. The court approved the appeal and decided to hold hearing of the case July 3.