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National Green Tribunal takes suo motu cognisance of illegal sand mining in Jharkhand

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) took Suo Motu cognizance of the matter relating to the alleged illegal sand mining taking place in Shree Banshidhar Nagar, Jharkhand.

The Petition is registered suo-moto on the basis of the news item dated 08.03.2024.  

As per the article, despite the government’s ban on sand mining, illegal sand mining is going on in full swing in broad daylight in Dhurki. 

The article alleges that the sand mining on the banks of Kanhar river goes on all day long. 

It further alleges that the sand mafia has even made proper roads with JCB machines in the forest to reach the sand ghat in Kanhar river. 

The article states that sand is then loaded on tractors and dumped in nearby villages. It claims that in Dhurki, about 200 tractors of sand are illegally mined everyday from the various ghats of Kanhar River.   

The above news item indicated the Bench  violation of the Sand Mining Guidelines, 2016 and the Environment Protection Act, 1986.   

The news item raises substantial issue relating to compliance of the environmental norms and implementation of the provisions of scheduled enactment.  

“Power of the Tribunal to take up the matter in suo-motu exercise of power has been recognized by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of “Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai vs. Ankita Sinha & Ors.” reported in 2021 SCC Online SC 897.”

Hence, Principal Bench of Justice Prakash Shrivastava , Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi and Dr. Afroz Ahmad impleaded the following as respondents in the matter:

(i) Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board, Through its Member Secretary. 

(ii) Central Pollution Control Board, through its Member Secretary.

(iii) Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. 

(iv) Collector & District Magistrate, Shree Bansdidhar Nagar.

The Bench issued notice to the Respondents.

Since the matter relates to the Eastern Zonal Bench, Kolkata , therefore, the Bench transferred the matter to the Eastern Zonal Bench , for appropriate further action. Office is directed by the NGT to transfer the original record to the  Eastern Zonal Bench   and the matter is listed on 02.08.2024.

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