The National Green Tribunal has directed a joint committee headed by the National Mission for Clean Ganga to check on a plea alleging illegal mining of soil and sand on the bank of the river Ganga.
A bench of Justice Brijesh Sethi directed the joint committee of the National Mission for Clean Ganga, State Pollution Control Board, State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) and District Magistrate, Varanasi to act on the plea, in which it was stated that illegal mining is ongoing from Assi Ghat to Raj Ghat of Ganga in Varanasi district in Uttar Pradesh.
It is submitted that the illegal mining is continuing without any District Survey report (DSR) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in violation of the earlier Supreme Court order.
As per the plea, an advertisement was issued by the District Magistrate Office, Varanasi on June 1, 2021, for lifting dredged material for a period of 6 months from the Ganga channel which was published in a local Hindi newspaper.
It is submitted that in the month of August to September 2021, the floods washed away the dredged material as well as the channel in the river Ganga in Varanasi. Despite the fact that the channel and the dredged material were washed away last year during the flood in the rainy season, mining in the river Ganga is illegally continuing without preparation of any District Survey Report (DSR) & EIA (Environment Impact Assessment) clearance, it alleged.
There is no demarcation of boundaries of the mining lease. The present mining in the name of lifting dredged material is, therefore, purely illegal, it said.
Having regard to the seriousness of the allegations, it appears necessary to ascertain the factual position in the matter through the joint Committee, the order dated February 17 said.
The State PCB will be the Nodal agency for coordination and compliance. The Joint Committee may meet within four weeks and undertake a site visit and look into the grievance of the applicant.
Further directing to submit a factual and action taken report within three months, the tribunal slated the matter for further hearing on May 27.