An additional report filed by a joint inspection team of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and placed before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on May 11, said the governments of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have ignored the guidelines on desilting activity while carrying out sand mining in the submergence areas of rivers Manair, Mohitummeda and Godavari. The next hearing is scheduled for May 23.
In April, the tribunal directed the CPCB to inspect riverbeds in A.P. and Telangana and clarify whether sand mining was being carried out in the name of desilting.
A Bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim had ordered the apex pollution monitoring body to submit a comprehensive report in two weeks and indicate whether desilting was essential for the area or not.
It also asked whether the contentions of the two States that such activity cannot be undertaken manually but has to be mechanically done is acceptable.
Eco nod must
The NGT had earlier directed the two governments to ensure that there is no mechanical sand mining on riverbeds without environmental clearance.
The green panel’s direction had come while hearing a plea by NGO Readiness for Empowerment through Legitimate Action (RELA) and former Polavaram mandal president Vara Laxmi seeking directions to the A.P., Telangana, Odisha and Maharashtra governments.
The petitioners had voiced concern over sand mining in major rivers such as Krishna, Godavari, Vamsadhara, Penna and Pranahita as well as their tributaries.
On A.P, the report noted several discrepancies in the activity at Prakasam Barrage. The water spread area of the barrage is 30 sq. km. and for over 53 years desilting activity has not been not carried out, the report said.