Shiv Kumar Sharma
Yamunanagar, May 26
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has passed an order restraining a private firm, Balaji Infra, from undertaking riverbed mining in the Yamuna in Jairampur Jagir village of the district.
The NGT passed this order on May 24, after hearing an appeal filed by Junaid Ayubi, who alleged that the application of the firm was only for sand mining, but it had been granted environmental clearance for boulder, gravel and sand.
In January, the environmental clearance was granted by the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) to this project for a year. However, sources said Balaji Infra started the mining operation in this block (an area of 33.85 hectares) only a week ago on May 19 after obtaining other necessary permissions. “After getting an order passed by the NGT restraining the firm from undertaking riverbed mining in the Yamuna at Jairampur Jagir village, we have stopped the operation on May 26,” said Gurjeet Singh, mining officer, Mines and Geology Department, Yamunanagar.
Appearing in the case, the appellant’s counsel submitted that no replenishment study was conducted as was mandatory in terms of the enforcement and monitoring guidelines for sand mining under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, and order of this Tribunal passed on March 11, 2020. The appellant’s counsel added that other violations were also committed while granting environmental clearance.
The NGT order reads, “The grant of environmental clearance without prior replenishment study is prima facie illegal. Instream mining is also not permissible. The source of water availability was also required to be looked into.”
“Thus, the impugned environmental clearance may be liable to be quashed without prejudice to fresh consent being granted, after the replenishment study, excluding the area falling within the river stream and taking other precautions,” the order added.
It reads that a notice might be issued to the SEIAA for its response, if any, within a month. “The project proponent is restrained from undertaking mining in pursuance of the impugned order,” reads the order.
The next date has been fixed for July 13 in the case.
Sources said 12 mining units/blocks were operational in Yamunanagar this time and 10 non-functional (suspended/stopped by the NGT) here.
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