Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding illegal sand mining, Jaleswar, Odisha, 17/06/2021

  • 17/06/2021

Order of the National Green Tribunal (Eastern Zone Bench, Kolkata) in the matter of Laxmidhar Palai Vs District Collector, Balasore & Others dated 17/06/2021.

The matter is related to illegal sand mining in river Subarnarekha, Jaleswar, Odisha.

The Odisha State Pollution Control Board has stated that the committee constituted to look into the matter during their inspection had observed that the miner had extracted 19,995 Cm3 of sand which is in excess of the permissible quantity of 30,000 Cm3 (extracted in one and half year period between 2018-19 and 2019-20 till June 11, 2019).

However, the NGT noted that as per the Environmental Clearance granted by the SEIAA, Odisha, December 6, 2017 - mineable reserves are 20,000 Cm3 of sand whereas the Environmental Clearance was granted for only 5,000 Cm3 annually with the specific condition that the annual extraction of sand shall not exceed 5,000 Cm3 allowing for replenishment of 25 percent of the mineable reserve over the lease period.

The NGT, Eastern Bench directed the SEIAA, Odisha to file an affidavit answering how the Consent to Operate was granted by the SPCB for for 20,000 Cm3 when the Environmental Clearance was only for 5,000 Cm3 per annum. In addition, the Balasore Irrigation Division has been ordered to submit a report on the action taken to restore the embankment and removal of the wooden bridge to ensure free flow of water.