Gurugram illegal mining: NGT imposes Rs 10,000 cost on Haryana for not following directions

The National Green Tribunal has imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 on Haryana for not filing a report on illegal mining in the Rithoj village of Gurugram district despite earlier directions.

The green body was hearing a petition that claimed unscientific illegal mining in the village had resulted in the depletion of water table, green cover and damage to water bodies.

A bench of National Green Tribunal Chairperson Justice Prakash Shrivastava noted that the tribunal had earlier formed a panel that in its report had acknowledged the adverse effects of illegal mining.

The bench — also comprising Judicial Members Justice Sudhir Agarwal and Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi and Expert Member A Senthil Vel — said the authorities concerned took no action despite acknowledging the existence of illegal mining.

Following this, the tribunal had sought a further action taken report.

It said the tribunal, in its order dated January 5, had warned the panel of “stern action” for submitting a “casual report”.

Considering another report the following month, the tribunal had noted that the administration did not take any action despite the illegal mining continuing.

In its order dated February 8, the tribunal had said the conduct showed paralysis of the administration on the subject, in breach of the “public trust doctrine”, the bench added.

The National Green Tribunal had also directed the Haryana chief secretary to personally look into the matter and take remedial measures, besides filing an action taken report within a month.

The matter was listed on August 22 when the tribunal, after considering the report, found that the action taken to control the illegal mining was not disclosed in “quantified terms”.

The tribunal had again sought a report from the state authorities within three months, the bench said.

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The green panel said in an order passed on Thursday, “Even after the expiry of three months, no report has been filed … A letter has been circulated under the signature of the environmental engineer, Haryana State Pollution Control Board, seeking adjournment on the ground that further time is required for receiving information and compiling the same.”

The tribunal said the state’s environment department had submitted another letter seeking adjournment.

“The above series of orders passed by the tribunal clearly reflect that the state authorities are not taking the orders of the tribunal seriously and are not complying with the same. No material has been disclosed even today in respect of the steps taken for stopping illegal mining in the area,” it said.

“We grant a further three weeks as prayed by counsel for the state to file the report, subject to a deposit of cost of Rs 10,000, which is to be deposited by the state in the ring-fenced account within one week,” the tribunal added.

The matter has been posted to February 9 for further proceedings.

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