Hyderabad: National Green Tribunal (NGT) at Delhi on Thursday cautioned Telangana state and Andhra Pradesh over alleged illegal sand quarrying in both states. It warned the Telangana government that it will order recovery if it was found that the sand has been excavating for commercial purpose. The NGT told AP that desiltation of sand from reservoirs without a study being conducted would be treated as illegal excavation.
A two member bench comprising Justice Jawad Rahim and Mr. Bikram Singh Sajwan (expert member) was dealing with two applications by Readiness for Empower-ment through Legitimate Action (RELA) from Telangana and another from Polavaram in AP seeking a ban on using heavy machinery in sand mining which damages the flood banks/river bed and results in destruction of ecology besides causing air and sound pollution.
Chief Secretary of AP, in his counter affidavit, told the bench that they had issued circulars to all the district collectors on February 10 to implement the NGT order that has stayed the usage of heavy machinery for sand mining in both states.
Referring to the counter affidavit, Mr. K Sravan Kumar, counsel appearing for the petitioners, said that the government has admitted that there was use of heavy machinery for desiltation of sand from Krishna River.
The bench asked the counsel for AP if they had conducted any study with regard to accumulation of silt in reservoirs each year and the quantum to be excavated in a year. When the counsel replied that there was no study in this regard, the bench said then it would amount to illegal excavation.
The petitioner’s counsel told that the Telangana government invited tenders to excavate 5.60 crores cubic tonnes of sand from Medigadda and another reservoir in 45 reaches.
While stating that if it found to be for commercial purpose, the tribunal will order for recovery, the bench adjourned the case to next Thursday on the request of the AP.