The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Chennai district collector and Joint Commissioner of Police to appear before it if no action is taken on the illegal sand mining at the Cooum river bank before December 21.
It had earlier constituted a panel of experts to look into the illegal sand mining at the Cooum river banks. The team consisting of police officials, PWD, and district collector in addition to the experts, had conducted an inspection on October 7.
Comprising of Judicial Member Justice K. Ramakrishnan and expert committee member K Sathyagopal, the bench on Thursday came out heavily against the officials and stated that even after three months since the committee was constituted and two months after the inspection, no report was produced before the NGT.
The NGT also said that the Chennai district collector did not file any independent statement and stated that the district collector seems not to understand the powers vested with the position of the district collector on serious environmental issues. The bench also directed the petitioners to produce copies of photos and videos of the illegal sand mining at the Cooum river banks to the district collector and Joint Commissioner of City police.
A petition on illegal sand mining from the banks of the Cooum river was filed by M R Thyagarajan of the Meenava Thanthai and K.R. Selvaraj of Meenava Nalla Sangam and the NGT constituted a committee to look into this matter. However, even after the first visit, there was no report from the expert committee and the petitioners had appealed before the NGT that there was no progress in the matter. This led to the bench directing both the Chennai district collector and Joint Commissioner of Police to appear before it if they don’t take action within December 21.