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NGT orders environment compensation penalty on illegal sand mining

Since the mining was carried out in excess; the mining thereof would amount to illegal sand mining.

Statesman News Service | BHUBANESWAR |

Taking cognizance of unlawful sand mining activities, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) eastern zone branch in Kolkata has directed the Odisha State Pollution Control Board to levy environment compensation penalty on sand quarry operators in Subarnarekha riverbed in Balasore district.

The green panel issued directions on a petition alleging illegalities and violations of pollution norms by the sand quarrying operators along over 10,000 hectares on the Subarnarekha Riverbed in Jaleswar Tehsil of Balasore district.

“Excess mining was being carried out beyond the permissible limit, transgressing the designated lease area. As a wooden bridge and approach road has been created, it is obstructing the free flow of river water. Though manual mining was allowed, excavators were being used to lift the sand, causing irreparable damage to the river bed”, the petition maintained.

Earlier the NGT on 9 June 2020 had constituted a four-member inquiry committee headed by the District Magistrate, Balasore.

As there were violation leasing terms, the tribunal later on 30 July 2020 had directed that “there shall be no mining of sand until further orders, the green panel had earlier ruled.

Since the mining was carried out in excess; the mining thereof would amount to illegal sand mining.

“We, therefore, direct to State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), Odisha to calculate the exact amount of excess illegally sand mined and levy penalty upon the project proponent within two months.

We also direct the Odisha State Pollution Control Board to look into the environmental degradation as per their report and levy Environmental Compensation which may be recovered from the project proponent within a period of two months”, the NGT members Amit Sthalekar and Saibal Dasgupta ordered while disposing the petition.