HYDERABAD: Dissatisfied over the reply submitted by the Telangana government in a case regarding sand mining and desiltation in river Godavari, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered that a report be submitted on the issue within two months by a joint committee, which would include officials from the Indian Institute of Technology-Roorkee, the Central Pollution Control Board and the Expert Appraisal Committee of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.
The four-member bench of the NGT, led by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, also held that it would consider imposing a penalty on the Telangana government in the next hearing on May 13. The issue pertains to the Telangana government conducting desiltation in an area of 1,400 hectares, along a 39-km stretch of the Godavari river, which the NGT observed earlier as a destruction of environment.
The desiltation resulted in the excavation of around four crore cubic metres of sand from the Godavari riverbed, according to a joint report by the CPCB and Telangana State PCB submitted to the NGT earlier. The report had pointed out the unscientific nature of sand excavation taken up by the government and the lack of comprehensive environmental impact assessment before taking up desiltation. The NGT had also pulled up the State government for not obtaining environmental clearances for desiltation.
Advocate Sravan Kumar, counsel for the petitioner in the case, an NGO named Readiness for Empowerment through Legitimate Action (RELA), told Express that the NGT questioned what action the State has taken to control the damage caused due to the unscientific sand mining and that the Tribunal also expressed dissatisfaction over the government not taking any remedial measures. He also said the Telangana government gave an undertaking that it would not take up desiltation in Godavari.