HC bans sand extraction in Maharashtra
The Bombay High Court today banned sand extraction across Maharashtra, including those holding licences, observing that the activity was damaging river beds and causing flood threats.
Acting on a petition, a bench headed by Justice B H Marlapalle passed this interim order and directed the state government's Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue) to inform this decision to all the district collectors throughout the state forthwith by fax or e-mail.
"The extraction of sand all over Maharashtra has become a serious issue posing environmental degradation challenge as well as apprehension to cause damage to river beds thereby causing serious threat of flood or diversion of water flow," the judges noted.
"It is also alleged in a report of former Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue) that auctions for sand extraction have resulted in heavy losses to the state treasury. Hence, by way of an ad-interim order, we direct sand extraction all over Maharashtra even on the basis of existing licences be stopped forthwith until further order," the bench observed.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Sagar Shramik Hatpati Walu Utpadak Sahakari Sanstha Maryadit alleging that sand extraction was causing great environmental degradation.