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Illegal sand mining, a theft of govt. revenue and an offence: NGT

The Odisha State Pollution Control Board is directed to conduct computation of Environmental Compensation and royalty and other dues and recovery of the same from the violator state, the NGT bench comprising Amit Sthalekar and Saibal Dasgupta ordered in a 15-page judgment.

Statesman News Service | Bhubaneswar |

The illegal sand mining activity amounts to theft of government revenue and is liable for prosecution under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, the Eastern Zone bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ruled while disposing of a petition on the alleged illegal sand mining in Kharasrota river in Masudpur Mouza of Jajpur district.

The Odisha State Pollution Control Board is directed to conduct computation of Environmental Compensation and royalty and other dues and recovery of the same from the violator state, the NGT bench comprising Amit Sthalekar and Saibal Dasgupta ordered in a 15-page judgment.

“Illegal mining of sand is not only theft of Govt. revenue inviting prosecution under the appropriate provisions of the IPC but also invites prosecution under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering At, 2002”, the NGT bench ruled.

“Whosoever directly or indirectly attempts to indulge or knowingly assists or knowingly is a party or is actually involved in any process or activity connected [proceeds of crime including its concealment, possession, acquisition or use and projecting or claiming it as untainted property shall be guilty of offence of money-laundering”, the green tribunal’s judgment noted quoting relevant portions of Prevention of Money-Laundering Act

if air, water, ground, and environmental pollution is caused in an area, not only the person causing environmental pollution but any person indirectly or knowingly aiding or assisting such act would also be liable for causing illegal financial gain to such violator, the bench ordered.

The application is accordingly disposed of with a direction to the Odisha State Pollution Control Board, Nodal Office, to file an affidavit of compliance with regard to computation of Environmental Compensation and royalty and other dues and recovery of the same from the violator.

The transportation of the illegally mined sand through the village road has caused damage to the embankment of the river, the bridge, and loss of revenue.

The ecology of the area is stated to have been damaged and the flow of the Kharasrota River is being disturbed causing a threat to the river embankment. Indiscriminate sand mining both in the designated places and other places in the river has already threatened the riverfront, caused soil erosion, and changed the course of river flow, the petition was moved by Pinak Ranjan Das, a resident of Masudpur village had alleged.

Over the years, the river and riparian ecology have been adversely affected by the alarming rate of unrestricted sand mining which causes damage to the ecosystem of rivers, weakening of riverbank, destruction of natural habitats of organisms living in the river beds, affects fish breeding and migration and disastrous subsistence of many birds species, etc, the petition had maintained.