Illegal sand mining on IAF land: NGT warns MoEF of adverse order

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) today warned the Ministry of Environment and Forests of adverse orders after it failed to make a representation before it in a matter relating to alleged illegal mining from land belonging to IAF in Faridabad and its sale in Noida and Gautam Budh Nagar districts of Uttar Pradesh.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar noted that despite service of a notice about the matter, none had come before it from the MoEF.

"Service is complete. However, nobody appears on behalf of MoEF. Let the registry inform Secretary, MoEF, that the Ministry remains unrepresented despite service and the Tribunal would be forced to pass adverse order in accordance with law...," the bench said.

The Bench had on September 26 issued notices to MoEF and also State Environment Impact Assessment Authority of UP, the two state governments (Haryana and UP) and their authorities concerned as well as the Indian Air Force, seeking their responses by today.

The court passed the order when it took up for hearing a petition filed by NGO, Noida Lok Manch, which has alleged that illegal sand mining is going on in IAF land- an air bombing and firing range -at Tilpat in Faridabad district of Haryana with the authorities doing nothing to prevent it despite complaints from villagers.

The petition alleged since the authorities failed intentionally or otherwise to take legal action against the activity, they "have abetted and wilfully connived in allowing illegal sand mining in complete violation of environmental and other applicable laws".

The over 4600 acres of Air Force land, which has seen no activity over the last 25-30 years, is situated on either side of river Yamuna and mining there is affecting farming activities of the villagers living nearby, the petition said.

It said removal of sand from the site in question is not only affecting farming activity but also causing lowering of the water table of the area.

The petition also raised the issue of change in flow of the river if the mining is allowed to continue.

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