Meghalaya imposes Rs 153 cr fine on illegal stone mining units after NGT petition

An activist had alleged that illegal stone mining was aggravating artificial flood problem in Guwahati
Last Updated 17 August 2021, 08:16 IST

The Meghalaya government has informed the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that it imposed a fine worth over Rs 153 crore as environmental compensation on 133 stone mining units, which were operating illegally in the state.

This was stated in response to a directive by the NGT, which was issued based on a petition filed by Jitul Deka, an RTI activist in Assam in 2019. Deka had alleged that illegal stone mining was aggravating artificial flood problem in neighbouring Assam's capital Guwahati.

The NGT had earlier formed a committee for an inquiry into the allegations raised by Deka.

Based on the NGT's directive, the Meghalaya government recently submitted an affidavit in the tribunal stating that 133 illegal mining units and crushers have been identified and the process was under way to collect environmental compensation worth over Rs 153 crore from them.

This was stated in an order of the NGT during its hearing on the petition on June 22.

Deka had complained that because of illegal earth cutting and extraction of stones, sand dust and residuary were blocking the drainage system in Khanapara, the entry point of Guwahati from Meghalaya side, and thereby, aggravating artificial flood problem in the city. Deka had also alleged that the stone mafia was also destroying the environment and ecological balance with the help of government officials in Meghalaya.

"This is a significant development. This proves the allegations I had raised about illegal stone mining," Deka told DH on Tuesday.

Deka is now planning to move another petition in the NGT with a request for the tribunal's intervention for closure of all the illegal stone mining units.

The Meghalaya government had earlier drawn flak from NGT over illegal coal mining too.

(Published 29 June 2021, 14:22 IST)

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