NGT bars Maharashtra from giving permits for sand mining

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New Delhi, April 19 (IANS) The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday prohibited the Maharashtra government from granting permission for sand mining on the river beds.

The green panel gave the decision following the state government’s inability to stop illegal sand-mining, especially the mining from the river bed using the suction pumps.

A bench, headed by NGT chief Justice Swatanter Kumar, also questioned the police officers from Solapur district of Maharashtra, asking how many illegal sand miners have been arrested so far.

Solapur district saw heavy sand mining in the past years along with several cases of mechanised illegal and legal sand mining, where the sand was sucked from the river bed or the stream bed using pumps.

The bench said that besides illegal mining, the mechanised sand mining using the pumps has to stop too.

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“We hereby prohibit the state of Maharashtra from granting any permission on in-stream, suction mining of sand under any circumstance… all such mining should stop,” the bench said.

The bench also asked for a list of companies or parties, both legal and illegal, involved in sand mining and also ordered seizure of the machinery.

Earlier in March, the NGT’s Western zone bench at Pune pointed out the incidents of illegal mechanised river sand mining in Man river basin at a village in the Solapur district.

The District collector of Solapur was then directed to conduct an inquiry to reveal as to why the concerned officials could not seize and confiscate machinery despite proofs of mechanical sand mining activities in the region.


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