Hyderabad: The Central Pollution Control Board has faulted the TS and AP governments for undertaking sand-mining in reservoirs and rivers without obtaining environmental clearances, without carrying out detailed assessment of sand deposition and without studying the impact on the environment. A team of scientists of the Central Pollution Control Board that visited both states submitted an additional report to the National Green Tribunal at Delhi on the matter. The tribunal had asked the CPBC whether the activity which the TS and AP governments claim to be desilting was indeed that or sand-mining. If the activity could be deemed desilting was it acceptable to use machines, the NGT asked.
The CPBC in its additional report on TS said sand excavation was carried out in hundreds of hectares using hundreds of vehicles. It said full-fledged desilting was in progress in TS and the government was earning money by selling sand. It said a detailed study was not done to verify environmental sustainability as was required as per the Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines 2016 before undertaking the desilting activities especially in the submergence areas of the rivers Manair, Mohitummeda and Godavari.
The CPBC team said the depth of 3 metres had been fixed to estimate sand availability without explaining the method followed to estimate the thickness of sand in the submergence areas of rivers though the approved limit was 1 metre for excavation. It said the AP government had listed five places but the CPBC found it was going on in seven places — Penumaka, Venkatayapalem, Uddandarayunipalem Lingayapalem, Prakasam Barrage, Rayapudi I and Rayapudi II. The CPBC team said there were procedural discrepancies before undertaking the dredging operations; the government had not carried out the detailed study on environmental sustainability and the impacts of dredging operations on flora and fauna by involving the relevant departments.
The CPCB team told the NGT that the Penumaka and Lingayapalem sand quarry in AP had been allotted to L&T Constructions and Shapoorji & Pallonji Company Pvt Ltd without specifying the quantity of sand, thickness of the sand, location and ramp points. In such a case, the contractors were at liberty to extract any quantity of sand required for the construction of the capital. The district collector had permitted both the companies to extract sand using machinery as sand was required urgently. The CPCB report said this clearly indicated that the objective was to “extracts sand from Krishna River rather to desilt it”.
HC refuses to stay TS GO:
The High Court has refused to stay the TS government notification ordering admission into private degree colleges through centralised online counselling. Justice P. Naveen Rao while dealing with a petition filed by Viswa Bharati Educational Society and two others said the institutions could make admissions on their own but these should not be finalised and the managements have to inform students about the orders of the High Court. The petitioners challenged the notification issued on May 15 for online admissions and a GO issued on April 10 fixing Rs 12,000 as admission fee.
The petitioners contended that the GO and the notification were illegal and enforcing the process of online admissions was ultra vires of the Telangana Educational Institutions (Regulations of Admissions and Prohibition of Capitation Fee) Act, 1983. The petitioners told the court that a single judge of the High Court had earlier allowed certain private colleges to make admission on their own. They urged the court to grant similar orders.
Government counsel sid that in view of the allegations against the private colleges of indulging in irregularities while making admissions, the government had introduced the online system and fixed the admission fee at Rs 12,000. Refusing to stay the online admissions, the judge posted the case to June 5.