The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday issued show cause notices to 18 individuals for carrying out illegal sand mining in Gautam Budh Nagar district. Following a submission by the Uttar Pradesh government that about 2,00,777 cubic metres of sand worth Rs8 crore had been stolen in the last week, the tribunal has also sought a detailed report by September 26, the next date of the hearing.

The stolen sand makes up almost 80% of the illegal sand seized by suspended sub-divisional magistrate Durga Shakti Nagpal. The tribunal also directed all states and Union Territories to formulate a uniform policy for checking illegal sand mining leading to the removal of sand from along river beds across the country.

The NGT notices came after a report submitted by the UP government following the tribunal’s August 5 order on banning sand mining. The UP government had seized 16 vehicles and heavy machinery and on August 13-14, and registered nine FIRs against 18 persons including locals and real estate contractors engaged in large-scale illegal mining of sand along the Yamuna river bed.

The bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also directed all 18 of the alleged offenders to be present before it on the next hearing. They have been directed to show cause as to why they should not be punished in accordance with the law as well as be made to compensate for damaging the environment by interfering with the river flow through their illegal activities.

The UP government’s submission of the report came after an NGT order earlier this week directing it to show by August 29 some definitive action on how many people had been booked or sent to jail for carrying out illegal mining in Gautam Budh Nagar and other parts of the state.

Courtesy: dna