Uttar Pradesh government has admitted before the National Green Tribunal that largescale illegal sand mining had been going on in Gautam Budh Nagar district of the state and said it has arrested 120 persons in this connection.
The State government also assured a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar that it has decided not to grant any lease for mining of sand without clearance from the environment ministry or State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) as applicable.
The bench has directed UP government to "abide by its statement before the Tribunal and ensure that no illegal and unauthorised extraction of sand is permitted to be carried on in Gautam Budh Nagar district of the state." The tribunal also directed the SSP of Gautam Budh Nagar to be present before it on the next date of hearing with details of the theft of 80% of over two lakh cubic meters of illegally mined sand which had been seized by the authorities. "He shall also produce complete list of owners of JVC bulldozers, tractors and trucks which were involved in these activities or were cause of other illegal mining," the bench said and listed the matter on January 22, 2014.
The tribunal noted that since it is an admitted position that illegal and unauthorised mining had been carried on in Gautam Budh Nagar for a considerable period, "obvious result thereof is damage to ecology and environment".
"It is more so when it is carried on, in the river bed as it may affect the course of the river and cause serious environmental problems and threat to public life," the NGT said, adding it intends to examine the steps needed to be taken for restoration and if the persons responsible for such illegal mining are liable to pay compensation.
The NGT had on August 5, this year, banned sand mining without clearance in the beds and banks of rivers across the country.
The restraint on illegal sand mining was on August 14 extended to beaches also.