Sand mining: NGT not to interfere with state’s rules

Sand mining: NGT not to interfere with state’s rules

The National Green Tribunal has declined to interfere with the Karnataka’s rules permitting the use of JCB in sand mining in view of the assurance given by the state government that no mechanised extraction of sand would be allowed in river and floodplain.

A bench headed by chairman Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel dismissed the review application filed by Dr Sarvabhouma Bagali against the tribunal’s order passed on August 20.

The applicant had initially challenged the validity of an order issued by the state government on November 2016, under the provisions of Karnataka Minor Mineral Concession Rule, 1994, permitting the use of JCB for sand mining and permitting in-stream sand mining at the base of the river.

He contended that it was in conflict with the Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2016, issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. He contended the mining has to take place as per the mining plan. The Union government’s guidelines permitted sand mining manually and prohibited in-stream mining, he pointed out.

The green panel, however, had declined to pass any order, having noted that the Karnataka government had assured that no mechanical mining will be allowed in any river or floodplain. It had also noted no material has been furnished to show that mechanical or in-stream mining was actually taking place.

It also noted the Supreme Court’s judgement in the case of ‘Deepak Kumar Vs State of Haryana’ (2012) clearly stated that no mining lease can be granted without environmental impact assessment. Such environment clearance cannot be granted unless the guidelines issued by the Union government are followed.

In a fresh plea, Bagali sought review of the August 20 order, contending the averments made with regard to use of JCBs, suction pumps, dredgers, mechanised boats in sand mining in river Bhima had been ignored.

The tribunal, however, found no reasons to issue fresh directions.