National Green Tribunal fines contractors for illegal sand mining, Rs 36 cr to be paidtext_fields
Bhubaneswar: The eastern zone bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a Rs 36 crore fine on contractors for illegal sand mining at the Budhabalanga riverbed in Odisha.
Justice B. Amit Sthalekar was addressing the plea filed by Radhamohan Singh of the Mayurbhanj district. Expert member Saibal Dasgupta was also on the bench.
The NGT has imposed the fine on mining contractors Pradeep Kumar Bindhani and Krupasindhu Singh of Mayurbhanj. The court also asked the Odisha government to file an FIR against Mamtaj Maharana, tahsildar, Badasahi, Mayurbhanj for her involvement in the case.
The bench found the contractors and the tahsildar to be guilty of theft and pilferage of sand on the basis of overwhelming documentary evidence. The NGT asked the government to file an FIR against her for illegally issuing transit permits to the leases and thereby actively participating in the theft of state revenue.
The court pointed out that Mamtaj Maharana's name was not on the FIR and said it has failed to understand why the respondents are shielding Mamtaj Maharana. The FIR only said that the investigation is pending against her and department proceedings have been initiated against her. But these proceedings are pending. Maharana is currently under suspension.
The tribunal has recommended that measures like installing CCTV cameras at strategic locations and GPS-enabled trucks and checking squads be taken to prevent illegal sand mining in the future.
The Mayurbhanj district collector has been asked to submit an affidavit on compliance with the order by December 7.