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The Supreme Court on Thursday (November 16) ordered a stay on the illegal sand mining activities on the riverbeds of Rajasthan. The bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta directed to stop any mining activity until the needed scientific study is completed and the required environmental clearance is obtained.

Some serious allegations have been levelled against the Rajasthan government. It is being accused that the state government is hand-in-glove with the sand miners and that is the reason why the government moved court against the high court order.

The government of Rajasthan had allowed 82 lease holders to carry on the sand mining activities without getting the prescribed environmental clearance for it, thereby making it illegal. Naveen Sharma, the petitioner and the president of the Rajasthan Bajri Truck Operators’ Welfare Society had asked time from the apex court so as to get the clearance. He had pleaded that getting environment clearance is a time-taking process and it will be a great loss of employment if mining is halted till that time. However, it is understood that out of the 82 miners, none have so far procured the clearance.

Rajasthan has been constantly receiving flak from the courts for the ongoing illegal mining activities in the state. Illegal sand mining has been a constant menace in the state. However, the state government has openly flouted orders of the National Green Tribunal and the courts in this regard and taken no strict action against the illegal miners.

In its 2012 order the Supreme Court had recorded how India’s riparian ecology was being severely damaged because of an “alarming rate of unrestricted sand mining”. The order had also noted that such unrestricted mining can lead to huge environmental problems.

India Legal Bureau

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