The National Green Tribunal today sought responses of the Centre, UP and Haryana on a plea alleging that sand was being illegally mined from land belonging to IAF in Faridabad and is being sold in Noida and Gautam Budh Nagar districts of UP.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, State Environment Impact Assessment Authority of UP, the two state governments and their authorities concerned as well as the Indian Air Force, seeking their responses by October 28.
The order came on a petition filed by NGO, Noida Lok Manch, which has 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 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 4600 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 is affecting farming activities of the villagers living nearby, the petition contended. The NGO, contended in its plea 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 also raised the issue of change in flow of the river if the mining is allowed to continue.
The NGO, in its plea, has sought appropriate legal action against the "sand mafia" as well as strict measures to ensure such illegal sand mining is completely stopped immediately.