The three-member committee of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has found mining rampant in Gautam Budh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh.
In the report to the Ministry, the committee said, “It is evident that rampant unscientific and illegal mining has been going on at various locations in the Gautam Budh Nagar district along the Yamuna river. This is in violation of the environmental regulations, the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 and the directions given by the Honourable Supreme Court, Honourable High Court of Allahabad and National Green Tribunal, New Delhi.”
But the committee did not recommend any action against either the officers or the miners in the district. Instead, it laid down procedures, rules and precautions to be applied in future.
The committee noted that at several spots it visited in the district, though mining activity had supposedly come to a halt, enough telltale signs and excavated sand lying around showed that heavy mining activities had been undertaken recently.
In Raipur Khadar, the committee, headed by the Director in the Ministry Saroj, said three leases had operated adjacent to each other, without environmental clearance or consent to operate.
At other sites the team visited -Yakutpur, Kundli, Gaddi-Samastipur, Mamnathal and Zuppa villages- the report stated that the team found enough material along the banks of the river which showed that sand had been excavated in the recent past.
Of all the sites, the only one where the panel did not record any mining was at the Hindon Bridge near Kisan Chowk.
The committee, following the February 2013 Supreme Court orders and the recommendations of a committee formed by the Environment Ministry in 2010, reiterated that specific stretches of the rivers should be identified for mining using exact coordinates and land record reference.
The mine leases, it said, should be done on the basis of cumulative impact assessments and annual replenishment studies.