UDUPI: In a major victory for environmentalists, the National Green Tribunal (South Zone) on Monday stopped sand mining in the guise of sand bar removal, an order which would put an end to excavation of sand in areas under Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ).
Activists opposing sand mining said NGT’s verdict would render all permits granted for mining in CRZ ineffective.
“The NGT (SZ) delivered a judgement today in favour of applicants Mr Udaya Suvarna and others in the Udupi Sand mining case. The tribunal pronounced that sand mining in the name of sand bar removal cannot be permitted. Most of the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) notifications for sand bar removal have not been followed. All permits issued for sand removal stands cancelled with today’s order. There has been violation of the guidelines. The process of identification of sand bar itself is faulty. Udupi administration has not involved local civil society while giving permits which is mandatory according to MOEF. A technical report has been taken from Mr S G Mayya, a retired professor of NITK instead of taking it from NITK which is another violation. Udupi administration had submitted sand bar identification documents to Prof Mayya for technical report before the date fixed for physical sand bar identification (spot inspection). As per guidelines sand can be removed from sand bars only if there are sand bars and cause obstruction to navigation of fishing boats,” said advocate Ranjan Shetty.
He said that all these violations were highlighted to NGT. “The tribunal had stayed sand removal in May 2016. Today it has given its order. With today’s order, all permits given for sand removal has to be cancelled. New permits can be given only after following all rules and guidelines,” he added.
Activist Shashidhar Shetty described this order as a victory against illegal sand mining. “We have been fighting against illegal sand mining in CRZ areas of Udupi for long. Finally, this is victory,” remarked Shashidhar Shetty, state convener, NECF.