The NGT appointed a monitoring committee to oversee illegal mining activities in and around Som Bhadra (Swan river) in the Una district of Himachal Pradesh had reported a vast “organized loot of natural resources” from the location.
It has caused a loss of more than Rs 100 crore to the public exchequer and a high rate of damage to the environment, reported the Times of India.
The monitoring committee formed under the chairmanship of Justice Jasbir Singh, former judge, Punjab, and Haryana High court, consisted of five members.
They held their first meeting on 9 April 2021, where they had a detailed discussion of the report and the proposed solutions for the problems observed.
The committee has also observed that illegal mining has been done in many hectares of land of Som Bhadra in the Una area and is 65 Km long.
The National Green Tribunal has ordered a proper investigation of the issue. It has directed the state chief secretary, DGP, state PCB, SEIAA, and district magistrate, Una, to inspect the circumstances and prepare a report before the next date.
To put a stop to this ill practice, the committee has recommended that “the cluster of mining sites be provided with a single entry and exit gate and one check post so that any illegal mining and transportation may be restricted.”
Moreover, they said it is important to install CCTVs in all the sensitive areas where anomalies are likely to happen and connect them with the deputy commissioner office/control room and mining department.
This step would help detect illegal and unscientific mining activities and get control over them within three months.
The report also added that providing mining leases should be stopped at least for one year.
Many over-extraction of sand using unscientific methods has been observed in Som Bhadra in both government lands and private lands.
In a recent order, NGT’s principal bench headed by its chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel discussed the report’s conclusions and found absolutely no checking.
As an answer to it, the mining officer and officer of the geology department gave the excuse of staff shortage for their negligence.
As a result of it, the NGT said. “A proper document in this regard may be prepared, and assessment of the damage caused to the environment and loss occurred to the state due to illegal activity may be done within two months. The said detailed report may be submitted to the deputy commissioner, Una.”