The National Green Tribunal has constituted an eight-member expert committee headed by Director General of Forests and Special Secretary (DGF&SS) to undertake a visit and prepare an action plan on the media reports related to the illegal mining near Keoladeo National Park in Rajasthan.
A principal bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel also sought for a factual and action taken report to be submitted within two months by the committee also comprising Director, National Chambal Sanctuary, Secretaries of Mining and State Pollution Control Board members from Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
“The area is also close to the National Chambal Sanctuary which is the habitat of rare species of animals particularly Gharial, roofed turtles, and also river dolphins. Illegal and unscientific mining is resulting in pollution in the area, adversely affecting the environment and public health. Blanket clearances are given for mining projects in violation of Sustainable Sand Mining Guidelines, 2016 and 2020,” the green court observed in the recently passed order.
It further stated that mining can be allowed only after requisite Environmental Clearance in terms of directions of the earlier Supreme Court order for which District Survey Report and Replenishment study have to be prepared and appraisal conducted.
The committee members were asked to interact with the stakeholders and prepare an action plan for remedial action for protecting aquatic habitats, demarcating and notifying areas for sand mining operations in conformity with Environmental and Social Management Guidelines (ESMG) 2016 and Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines 2020, replenishment potential without conflicting with the national parks/sanctuaries or any ecological habitat area, whether notified or not.
State PCBs will be the nodal agency for coordination and compliance.