Sand mining: NGT directs Odisha, WB to file ATR
New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) Tuesday directed Odisha and West Bengal to file action taken report in connection with illegal sand mining in the Subarnarekha River.
The matter was heard through video conferencing by a bench comprising NGT Chairperson AK Goel, Judicial member SP Wangadi and Expert member Nagin Nanda.
Earlier, during the hearing, the counsel appearing for petitioner Sudarshan Das in his argument said the two state governments have not seized the vehicles used by miners.
"All the actions initiated by the state government of West Bengal and other are under Motor Vehicles Act. It is required that action should be taken under environment laws where the amount of fine is higher and the vehicles should be seized," Ritwik Dutta, the counsel for the petitioner, said.
Dutta said that gorges have been formed in the entire area due to the 30-40-foot excavation and there is no plan to restore it. "We requested the court to direct study of the area and following that compensation should be paid to the people," he said. Das said that they raised the issue of the 32 mining leases granted in the area.
"Lease rules say if you are five kilometers from the boundary it must be granted by the Ministry of Environment and Forest and not by the state impact assessment authority. These are illegal and we have sought scrapping of all the leases," he said. "The green body has given us time till tomorrow to give written submission and after that they will pronounce the order," Das added.
The NGT had earlier directed the state governments of Odisha and West Bengal to file replies in connection with the illegal sand mining in Subarnarekha at Paschim Midnapore in West Bengal and areas of Balasore.