NGT panel to probe excess sand excavation from Brahmani river bed in Odisha

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | March 15, 2024 IST

NGT

Angul, March 15: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday constituted a three-member committee to  go into the allegations of excess extraction of sand from Gopinathpur quarry in Brahmani river under Talcher tehsil in Angul district.

The NGT asked the committee to submit a report within four weeks with regard to the allegations made in a petition filed by Talcher based Youth United for Sustainable Environmental Trust.

The petitioner alleged that the lessee was using four heavy machines (excavators) and hundreds of heavy vehicles in Gopinathpur sand quarry when mechanical mining is prohibited as per Sustainable Sand Mining Guideline 2016 and EC conditions. 

The lessee was mining excess sand to the tune of more than 50 Hyva truck loads per day. One Hyva has a load capacity of around 20 cubic metres of sand which is around 1,000 cubic metres per day when the permission is only for 18,000 CM for the first year and 4,500 for the entire second year, the petitioner alleged.

The NGT’s East Zone bench in Kolkata felt that the matter requires consideration. The bench of B Amit Sthalekar (Judicial Member) and Arun Kumar Verma (Expert Member) said, “Considering the allegations made, we deem it appropriate to constitute a committee to elicit the veracity of the allegations. The Committee shall inspect the site in question and submit its report within four weeks on affidavit with regard to the allegations made.”

The committee includes senior scientists of Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) and State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) and collector of Angul or his representative not below the rank of additional district magistrate.

The petitioner has sought direction to the mining department to conduct a drone survey to assess the mining beyond lease area and excess sand mining and GPS tracking of vehicles and making e-transit pass mandatory for mining operations. Advocate Sankar Prasad Pani and Advocate Ashutosh Padhy made submissions on the petitioner’s behalf.

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