Tribune News Service
Sonepat, July 24
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a fine of Rs 1.64 crore on a company for mining in the Yamuna by violating environmental norms. The NGT also directed the Chief Secretary, Haryana, to ensure a legal action, including prosecution and blacklisting of such units.
Krishan Chander had filed a complaint against a private company, M/s DSP Associates, Sonepat, for illegal mining by diverting the natural flow of the river. He claimed the firm had dug a 20-ft pit and made a bund to stop the natural flow of the Yamuna at Tikola village of the district.
The NGT had sought a report on the issue. Dissatisfied with the report, the tribunal recast a committee and sought further action against the company on October 12 last year. Following the NGT’s order, a fresh report was submitted by the committee on March 30, in which it showed that sand bund was built across the river and was demolished on October 23. It was also mentioned that the mining activity was permitted to be resumed on October 28 by the department.
The report further showed that the mining continued for 824 days without any check.
The fact that mining continuing for three years without any action by the statutory regulators showed the failure of the statutory regulatory mechanism, the NGT said.
The NGT said, “No criminal prosecution has been initiated. Officials of the Mining Department and other regulatory or supervisory officials appeared to be hand in glove with offenders.” Submitting a status report to the NGT on July 13, the committee said the environmental compensation of Rs 1.64 crore be recovered from the company for violating the norms. It also said the Mining Department had terminated the contract granted to the unit for extraction of minor minerals in violation of environmental clearance. The amount of Rs 1.64 crore had been forfeited from the unit’s security amount of Rs 2.26 crore, the committee said.
The NGT directed the Chief Secretary, Haryana, to review the existing monitoring mechanism and to look into the conduct of erring officers who failed to take action for more than three years.
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