NGT directs member secretary MPPCB to ascertain extent of illegal sand mining in MP

The National Green Tribunal directed the Member Secretary, Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB) to ascertain the extent of illegal sand mining, the persons responsible for the same and ascertain the environmental damage and levy the Environmental Compensation upon the violators after following the due process of law.

The Principal Bench of Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Dr. A Senthil Vel disposed of a Petition registered suo motu on the basis of the news item appearing in the daily newspaper dated 04.02.2024.

The news item discloses the illegal sand mining, excavation/transportation/storage in the Babri sand mine located in Narmada River in Gram Babri, Tehsil Rehti, District Sehore of Madhya Pradesh. As per the news item, sand mafia with the help of high tech rodar machine, valuing about 55 lakh, was involved in illegally extracting the sand from River Narmada and on the receipt of the information action has been taken by the jurisdictional Collector and the equipment’s, vehicles etc. involved in the illegal sand mining have been seized.

The news item raises substantial issue relating to compliance of environmental norms.

“Power of the Tribunal to take up the matter in suo-motu exercise of power has been recognized by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of “Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai vs. Ankita Sinha & Ors.” reported in 2021 SCC Online SC 897.”

On advance notice the action taken report on behalf of the State of Madhya Pradesh has been filed disclosing the action which has been taken . Though, the actions by the administration under the mining act and the rules have been taken but no action is indicated in respect of imposition of Environmental Compensation for causing damage by the illegal mining , the Bench noted.

“Hence, we direct the Member Secretary, Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB) to ascertain the extent of illegal sand mining, the persons responsible for the same and ascertain the environmental damage and levy the Environmental Compensation upon the violators after following the due process of law. Let this process be completed within a period of three months and an action taken report be filed within two weeks thereafter before the Registrar of the Central Zonal Bench of the Tribunal. If found necessary the matter will be listed for further consideration before the Central Zone Bench, Bhopal. Office is directed to transfer the original record of the OA to Central Zonal Bench, Bhopal”, the order reads.

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