NGT bars desilting, mineral extraction at Bisalpur Dam in Rajasthan without green clearance

The National Green Tribunal has prohibited Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project Corporation Limited (ERCPCL) from proceeding with desilting, dredging, mineral extraction and disposal at the Bisalpur Dam in Tonk district without obtaining environmental clearance.

In an order on Friday, the central zonal bench of the tribunal in Bhopal also directed the Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board to take necessary preventive, prohibitory, punitive and remedial measures in case of violations of environmental laws.

The order by a bench of judicial member Justice Sudhir Agarwal and expert member Afroz Ahmad came on a petition file by Jodhpur-resident Dinesh Bothra challenging the tender for the contract of sand mining at the Bisalpur Dam for a period of 20 years.

RCPCL, representing the Department of Mines, had issued online bids for the reclamation of storage capacity of the Bisalpur Dam by desilting.

In its order, the tribunal has barred all activities under the project involving dredging, desilting, extraction of silt or sand or gravel from the dam until the required environmental clearance is obtained as mandated by the Environment Impact Assessment Notification of 2006.

Additionally, the NGT directed ERCPCL to comply with all environmental laws, obtain required consents, NOCs, clearances, etc. before proceeding with desilting in the dam.

The petitioner’s counsel Sanjeet Purohit submitted that the bid did not align with the Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines of 2016 and the Enforcement and Monitoring Guidelines for Sand Mining of 2020.

He said the state authorities proposed sand removal without preparing the district survey report and classifying it as desilting, a move contrary to established guidelines and the Supreme Court’s directive on DSR provisions.

The NGT stated that desilting or dredging activities under the guise of mineral extraction through mining operations cannot proceed without adherence to environmental laws.

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