The National Green Tribunal on Friday directed Haryana to file a status report with regard to any FIRs that were lodged by the Air Force and other bodies over alleged illegal cutting of trees and sand mining in the state. A bench of Justice Swatanter Kumar directed Haryana to file the report within three weeks and fixed the matter for September 10.
"Let the status report be filed within three weeks from today with advance copy to all the counsel appearing in the case," the bench said.
The bench also asked Uttar Pradesh to direct senior officials of the concerned departments to prepare a report with regard to the ecological damage caused by illegal sand mining in Noida. "While conducting the inspection and preparing the report of the ecological damage that is caused, its restoration and revenue loss to the state, it shall associate the applicant along with the expert," it said.
The order came on petitions filed by NGO, Noida Lok Manch and Ashok Kumar which had 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 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 removal of sand from the site 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.