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Ensure no illegal sand mining is carried out: NGT to Punjab govt

Ensure no illegal sand mining is carried out: NGT to Punjab govt

New Delhi, Aug 28 (PTI) The National Green Tribunal has directed the Punjab government to ensure that no illegal sand mining is carried out in the state, noting that several leases for mining have been given without following statutory procedure.A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel also directed a committee comprising officials from Union Environment Ministry to fix accountability of the persons concerned and the amount of compensation to be recovered for illegal mining carried out within a month."A copy of such report be also given to the Chief Secretary, Punjab for ensuring compliance as different departments may be involved and remedial action may need to be seen by the Chief Secretary."Statutory authorities may ensure that no further illegal mining is carried out unless statutory procedure is followed. The Department of Mines & Geology may take remedial action which may be overseen by the Chief Secretary. A compliance report may be furnished by the Chief Secretary within three months by e-mail," the bench said.The direction came after it perused a report filed by committee comprising officials from the Union Environment Ministry, State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), Punjab and the State Pollution Control Board.The committee told the tribunal that after scrutinising the documents submitted by the Department of Mines & Geology and deliberations made during the meeting convened by the committee, it has been observed that most of the mining sites to be allotted are located in the natural deposition zones of the riverThe tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Punjab resident Gagneshwar Singh regarding the auction of sand and gravel mining in Punjab in alleged violation of "Sustainable Sand Mining Management Policy, 2016" (SSMMP) issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests against the direction of High Court.It is alleged in the application that the Punjab government has decided to grant mining lease on block wise basis without preparing any district survey report against the SSMMP. PTI PKS RT