Illegal mining: NGT seeks re-computation of EC

Therefore, when the excavation area is 1,500 cubic metre the quantity of illegally mined sand should be 70,380 cubic metres.

Published: 15th October 2022 06:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th October 2022 06:36 AM   |  A+A-

mining

Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo)

By Express News Service

CUTTACK: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) to re-compute Environmental Compensation (EC) for excess sand mined from Subarnarekha river bed and the damage caused to its embankment at Benapura under Basta tehsil in Balasore district.

“However, as an interim measure we direct the lessee (Rajesh Khatua) to deposit Rs 1 crore towards environmental compensation to State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) within a period of one month till final computation of EC is carried out by SEIAA”, the NGT’s east zone bench in Kolkata ordered on Tuesday.

“The amount shall be utilised for restoration of the damaged embankment of Subarnarekha river and for other damages caused to the river”, the Tribunal said.A bench of Justice B Amit Sthalekar (judicial member) and Saibal Dasgupta (expert member) further directed the Collector and District Magistrate of Balasore to lodge FIR against tehsildars who were posted at Basta from 2017 to 2021.

“Such FIR shall thereafter be carried to its logical conclusion. The Collector and District Magistrate shall also initiate departmental proceedings against the concerned tehsildars in accordance with law”, the bench said.Earlier, the NGT had constituted a three-member committee to probe the allegations of excess sand mining at Benapura. Saral Kumar Parida, a resident of Basta had filed a petition seeking intervention  against it. 

The committee comprised District Magistrate and Collector of Balasore, representatives of SEIAA and SPCB and Mining Officer, Baripada Circle. While confirming large-scale  illegal extraction of sand, the committee had recommended recovery of Rs 2.32 crore as environmental compensation. But petitioner counsel Sankar Prasad Pani raised dispute over it. Pani submitted that the total area of mined out mineral was shown as 71,880 cubic metre.

Therefore, when the excavation area is 1,500 cubic metre the quantity of illegally mined sand should be 70,380 cubic metres. Taking Rs 1,103 as cost of one cubic metre of sand the cost of illegally extracted sand would be Rs 7.76 crores, he said adding the ecological services and the total environmental compensation would amount to Rs 11.6 crore for  one year.



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