The National Green Tribunal today directed the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) to ensure that no sand mining is permitted in the name of dredging of Yamuna at Wazirabad and Jagatpur bund areas here.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swantanter Kumar also directed Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to take samples of the dredged material and report to the tribunal. Dredging is the removal of sediments and debris from the bottom of rivers and other water bodies.
The matter is listed for next hearing on November 13.
“The Delhi Jal Board shall ensure that no sand mining is permitted in the name of dredging of river.
“We also direct the DPCC and CPCB to take sample of the sand/dredged material that is being carried by the persons upon whom the contract has been placed. It shall be reported to the Tribunal whether the material in the truck is sand or silt,” the bench said.
The order came on a petition by Rahul Nagar seeking to initiate contempt proceedings for non-compliance of its order to stop illegal mining being carried out in Yamuna river bed.
The Tribunal had on September 1 directed the Delhi government to stop illegal mining being carried out without requisite environmental clearance at Wazirabad and Jagatpur bund.
“Illegal mining is not only in contravention of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, but also of order and directions of the Supreme Court and directions of National Green Tribunal,” Nagar had said in his plea.
The Maharashtra government suffered a setback Thursday when the Bombay High Court refused to lift a ban on sand mining in the state – a day after the ruling Democratic Front proposed a draft policy on the issue.
A division bench of Justice B.H. Marlapalle and Justice U.D. Salvi refused to lift the stay on sand mining, which the court imposed earlier.
On Sep 24, a division bench comprising Justice B.H. Marlapalle and Justice Amjad Sayyed passed an interim order banning sand mining – including by those who had licences – observing that the activity was damaging river beds and increasing threats of flood.
The court’s order came in a public interest litigation petition filed by Sagar Shramik Hatpati Walu Utpadak Sahakari Sanstha Maryadit, which alleged that sand extraction was causing major environmental degradation, especially in creeks and rivers.
On Wednesday, the state cabinet approved a new sand mining policy making it mandatory for all contractors to obtain permission of village panchayats for sand mining and extraction.
On Thursday, the state’s advocate-general Ravi Kadam made a plea in the high court to lift the stay, saying the government had already finalized a policy on the issue of sand mining.
The high court ruled that it would decide on vacating the stay only after the government submitted the government resolution on the issue before it, and adjourned the hearing till Oct 25.