NGT raises concern over illegal sand mining in UP’s Banda

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Noting the inaction in checking illegal sand mining in Banda district of Uttar Pradesh, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the District Magistrate to attend a video conferencing interaction along with the Regional Officer of the State Pollution Control Board (PCB).

The NGT bench headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel in an order passed on Friday directed the Banda Superintendent of Police to furnish an action taken report on the FIR in the matter within one month.

As per the complaint filed by applicant Haidar Khan, a company namely R.S.I. Stone World Limited is involved in sand mining, violating environmental norms and without consent from the state PCB in Naraini tehsil of the district.

On the NGT’s intervention, the state PCB had on September 22, 2020, found the violation of norms by the company. The committee had found mining of six metres against the maximum permitted depth up to 3 metres with the use of Pokland machines, use of lifter machines, part of which were found inside the Ken river.

Accordingly, the Banda District Magistrate cancelled the lease and blacklisted the project proponent and also slapped an environmental compensation of Rs 1.43 crore. An FIR was also lodged on March 15, 2020, apart from other action.

However, the tribunal found that compensation for damage to the environment had not been recovered which was required to be done by the statutory body. A notice was also directed to be served on the project proponent.

There has been no response from the violator and the PCB. A reply filed by the District Officer says that compensation for damage to the environment cannot be recovered by the District Officer, the NGT said.

Further hearing in the matter will take place on April 29.

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