The alleged illegal sand mining in Odisha’s Sundargarh district has come under judicial scrutiny with the National Green Tribunal (NGT)’s eastern zone bench ordering the constitution of a committee to look into the alleged mining-induced environmental impact.
The NGT’s attention had earlier been drawn to the excessive sand mining on the Brahmani river bed in Lahunipara tehsil of Sundargarh district and the resultant environmental degradation.
The locals affected by the sand mining moved the NGT alleging that unaccounted illegal mining has triggered environmental degradation besides causing loss of revenue to the State government.
The lessee has mined more sand than the permitted quantity and there is an alleged unholy nexus with the tehsildar who is allowing the activities to continue on a day-to-day basis, they had alleged in the petition.
The committee shall constitute representatives of Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB), State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (Integrated Regional Office, Bhubaneswar) and District Collector Sundargarh. The State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) will be the nodal agency of the committee; the NGT ruled asking the authorities to submit a compliance report along with environmental compensation amount that can be imposed on the lessee within four weeks.
The apex green panel posted the matter for further hearing on 28 January 2022.