New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has directed Central Pollution Control Board to inspect riverbeds in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and clarify whether sand mining was being carried out in the name of desilting.
A bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim ordered the apex pollution monitoring body to submit a comprehensive report within two weeks and indicate whether desilting was essential for the area or not.
Desilting is removal of fine sand, clay, or other material from a water body and can be done manually and mechanically.
"Let CPCB conduct an inspection of the area covering Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and submit the report as to whether the activity of the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana would be mining or de-silting as contended by them," the bench said.
It also asked whether the contentions of these states that such activity cannot be done manually and has to be mechanically done is acceptable.
The NGT had earlier directed Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments to ensure that there is no mechanical sand mining on the riverbeds in the states without prior environment clearance.
The green panel's direction came while hearing a plea by NGO Readiness for Empowerment through Legitimate Action (RELA) and Polavaram Mandal ex-president Vara Laxmi seeking directions to Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odissa and Maharashtra governments to ban illegal sand mining.
The petitioners had raised concern regarding sand mining in major rivers like Krishna, Godavari, Vamsadhara, Penna and Pranahita as well as their tributaries.
The matter is now listed for hearing on April 19.
The plea, filed through advocate Sravan Kumar, had also sought directions to formulate and place on record strategy to prevent illegal mining and a cumulative impact study on rampant sand mining in these states.