Report on illegal sand mining, 13/08/2020
Report of the Oversight Committee in compliance of National Green Tribunal order passed in O.A. No. 360/2015.
The matter related to illegal sand mining in the state of Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Odisha, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
The Committee recommended that district survey reports (DSRs) need to be prepared very carefully. They should be based on physical surveys and replenishment studies. Since sand deposition was a dynamic issue, they need to be regularly updated.
While awarding lease deeds, important environmental parameters like deposition and replenishment of sand, areas of erosion, distance from infrastructural structures need to be considered. There has to be a mechanism to ensure that the actual mining activity conforms to the approved mining plan and the approved Environment Management Plan (EMP). Besides the statutory system of departmental inspections, there has to be a system of annual mandatory environmental audit by experts.
Further, there should be an effective mechanism for restoration of the environment in case of its degradation due to mining. A portion of the royalty could be reserved for it as Environment Restoration Fund.
Storage godowns should be at least 5 kms away from the river bank. Otherwise illegal mining can be carried on under the garb of storage by the leaseholder himself, the Committee report said.
Justice S.V.S. Rathore was the Chairman of the Oversight Committee.