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Illegal sand mining: NGT appoints officer to conduct survey

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 - 6:24pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday appointed a senior officer of Haryana Mining Department to carry out a survey within a month to ascertain the topography and quantity of sand mined at an Air Force land at a village in Faridabad district.

"Let a senior officer of Mining Department of Haryana conduct a survey within thirty days and the applicant be informed of the dates on which the survey would be conducted," a bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

The bench also allowed the petitioner to be associated with the survey along with an expert if he desired and fixed July 8 as the next date of hearing.

The tribunal also directed Ministry of Environment and Forests, state of Haryana and Indian Air Force to place "a complete and comprehensive proposal with regard to disposal of the sand in terms of quantity, methodology and necessity for removal of the sand from the area in question." The order came on petitions filed by NGO, Noida Lok Manch and Ashok Kumar which alleged that illegal sand mining is going on in IAF land— an air bombing and firing range —at Tilpat in Faridabad district of Haryana with the authorities were doing nothing to prevent it despite complaints from villagers.

The petition had alleged that since the authorities failed—- intentionally or otherwise—- to take legal action against the activity, they "have abetted and wilfully connived in allowing illegal sand mining in complete violation of environmental and other applicable laws." The over 4,600 acres of Air Force land, which has seen no activity over the last 25—30 years, is situated on either side of river Yamuna and mining is affecting farming activities of the villagers living nearby, the petition had contended.

The plea had contended that the removal of sand from the site in question is not only affecting farming activity, but is also causing lowering of the water table of the area.

The petition had also raised the issue of change in flow of the river if the mining is allowed to continue.

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