NGT forms panel to look into ‘illegal’ soil mining in UP village

The National Green Tribunal has formed a panel to look into the allegations of illegal soil mining by a private company at a village in Uttar Pradesh during the ongoing construction of the Bundelkhand Expressway project.

The tribunal was hearing a petition alleging illegal mining of soil, of up to 15 metres, in agricultural land by a private company in collusion with the Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) officials in Jalon district’s Narcha village.

According to the petition, the illegal mining resulted in damage to the environment.

A bench of Chairperson Justice Prakash Shrivastava said the allegations raised “substantial issues” regarding the environmental laws.

“To ascertain the truthfulness of the allegation, we deem it proper to constitute a joint committee comprising of Member Secretary, Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), representative of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the concerned Executive Engineer of state’s Public Works Department (PWD) and the District Magistrate of Jalon,” the bench, also comprising expert member A Senthil Vel, said in a recent order.

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The NGT said the DM will act as a coordinating officer between the members of the joint committee.

“The joint committee will find out on the spot the extent of illegal mining, if any, done by the Project Proponent (the private company) and also the damage to the environment caused in the process and will also suggest the preventive and remedial measures,” the bench said.

The tribunal directed the joint committee to submit a report before the next date of hearing on December 15.

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