NGT Says Sand Mining in Manair Illegal, Imposes ’25cr Penalty on Irrigation, Mining Departments

Karimnagar: The National Green Tribunal (NGT), Southern Zone, on Tuesday confirmed that illegal sand mining was going on in the Manair river in the name of de-siltation, and instructed Telangana state Chief Secretary to stop immediately all sand mining activities across the river in the erstwhile Karimnagar district.

Besides the order to stop sand mining, the NGT also imposed a penalty of `25 crore each on the irrigation and mining departments and ordered the money to be deposited with the Godavari River Management Board, within three months.

The order was delivered on a petition filed by a group of nature lovers including Surender Reddy, Satish Kumar, Srinivas and Venkat Reddy who had formed a committee, ‘Save Manair’, and started a movement against the sand mafia.

They filed five petitions with the NGT and approached the High Court and the Supreme Court, stating that the sand mining operations were going on without environment clearance. The sand mafia exploited natural resource and caused umpteen problems to the farm sector of the region, the group pointed out in the petitions.

Welcoming the NGT order, Congress leader T. Sammi Reddy demanded action against BRS government leaders who had supported illegal sand mining in the Manair river. He demanded that the Congress government must collect `50 crore from the officials and contractors who indulged in illegal sand mining and pay compensation to the farmers who faced losses/

Sammi Reddy, former chairman of the Jammikunta agriculture market committee, urged Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy to crack down on the sand mafia and protect natural resources from exploitation.

He alleged that BRS leaders, in cahoots with officials of the TS Mineral Development Corporation (TSMDC) and contractors, established sand quarries not only in Veenavanka and Jammikunta mandals but also at several places in divided Karimnagar district and carried out illegal sand mining in the name of desiltation.

Lorries carrying heavy loads of illegal sand damaged roads, leading to many road accidents. The issue had been flagged before the previous BRS government many times, but it did not take any action, he alleged.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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