KENDRAPARA: Restraining sand mining along Brahmani river bed in the district without environment clearance, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Chief Secretary of Odisha to take appropriate action against Kendrapara Collector and SP for filing incorrect affidavit before it.
A principal bench of BGT headed by Justice SP Wangdi has also directed Odisha Government, Kendrapara Collector, Pattamundai Tehsildar and member secretary of the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) to take necessary action against persons involved in illegal sand mining without obtaining environment clearance. The NGT passed the order acting on the petition filed by environmentalist Manoranjan Pradhan of Belatala village and others.
The petitioners had alleged that several persons were illegally mining sand on Brahmani river bed at Charenarendrapur, Alva, Nimapur and Srirampur by violating the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and order of the Supreme Court. They also stated that the illegal mining was disturbing the natural sand dunes and threatening the river embankment.
“The 480 km long Brahmani is the second largest river in the State after Mahanadi. It flows through Sundargarh, Keonjhar, Dhenkanal, Kendrapara, Cuttack and Jajpur districts. Lakhs of people depend on the river for agriculture purpose. Indiscriminate sand mining in many places has threatened embankments at many places and changed the course of river flow,” the petition stated.
Earlier on January 28, the NGT had directed the District Magistrate, SP, SEIAA and Odisha State Pollution Control Board to investigate the matter by forming a joint committee and submit a report after visiting the areas.
In its report, the joint committee stated that sand is being lifted from a private land. The sand extracted from the river bed has not caused any obstruction to the free flow of the river. Pattamundai Tehsildar has given permission to one Virendra Pal Singh to lift sand and earth at Charenarendrapur and Alva villages from a private land near Brahmani river.
However, the report admitted that environmental clearance was not obtained from the competent authority for excavating sand and soil from the river bed at Charenarendrapur, Alva, Nimapur, Chaudakulat and Srirampur under Pattamundai Tehsil for which the administration stopped sand-mining in these villages.