Rs 1.64 crore fine on contractor for illegal mining in Sonepat

Accused of changing course of Yamuna, erecting sand bridge

Rs 1.64 crore fine on contractor for illegal mining in Sonepat

The construction of sand bridge obstructed the flow of water in Sonepat district. file photo

Bhartesh Singh Thakur
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 1

A National Green Tribunal (NGT) panel has imposed an environmental compensation (EC) of Rs 1.64 crore on a mining contractor for having changed the course of the Yamuna and having constructed a sand bridge, obstructing the flow of water in Sonepat district.

The mining lease to DSP Associates for sand mining on 42.5 hectares in Sonepat’s Tikola village was given in 2015, while the environmental clearance was granted in 2016.

Inspection team submitted report to NGT on March 27

  • In its March 27 report submitted to the NGT, the inspection team observed the contractor violated the term “no stream be diverted for sand mining”
  • The team said “the unit is liable to pay the cost of damage caused to water and land environment due to the obstruction and diversion of the river”
  • It said mining “shall not be permitted to resume unless the compensation is deposited” and it shall comply with “all conditions stipulated in the lease”

The Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) had granted the “consent to establish” in 2016, while the “consent to operate” was given on October 24, 2020. It was valid up to September 30, 2023.

In 2020, an application was filed in the NGT against the mining contractor for illegal mining.

The NGT had, on June 16, 2020, asked the Sonepat DC for an action-taken report on the matter. Subsequently, he formed a committee.

On January 27, 2021, members of the committee visited the mining site and found out that DSP Associates had erected a sand bund across the Yamuna which had been demolished by the Irrigation Department on the orders of the Sonepat DC.

In its March 27 report submitted to the NGT, the inspection team observed that the contractor had violated the condition of sustainable mining as mentioned in environmental clearance that “no stream should be diverted for the purpose of sand mining” and that “no natural course and water resource are obstructed due to the mining operation”.

“The unit is liable to pay the cost of damage caused to water and land environment due to the obstruction and diversion of the river. The damage is required to be assessed by an institute having expertise in the field of water environment, and flora and fauna study,” said the inspection team in its report.

It added that the mining activity “shall not be permitted to resume unless the compensation is deposited by the unit” and it shall comply with “all conditions stipulated in the environmental clearance, mining lease and consent to operate”.

The next date of hearing in the case is on May 11.

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