Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding illegal mining in Sariska, Rajasthan, 06/04/2021

  • 06/04/2021

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of News item published on 27.07.2020 in the local daily named “Times of India” titled “Forest guard mowed down by ‘mining mafia’ in Sariska" dated 06/04/2021. Proceedings in the matter was initiated based on a media report of July 27, 2020 (forest guard mowed down by mining mafia in Sariska).

The matter was last considered on August 10, 2020 and the court had observed that there was failure of oversight regulatory mechanism in enforcing provision of the Wildlife (Protection), Act, 1972 and Sustainable Sand Mining Guidelines, 2020. A joint Committee comprising Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board (RSPCB), District Magistrate, Alwar and PCCF (HoFF), Rajasthan was constituted to take further remedial action and to file a report specifically mentioning estimate of illegal mining, number of mines sanctioned in the area and regulatory mechanism to check the illegal mining in the said eco sensitive area.

Accordingly, DCF, Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan has filed a report on February 15, 2021 giving the list of mining within 10 kms of the Sariska Tiger Reserve with the steps taken to control illegal mining in the said eco sensitive zone. Action taken report by the Member Secretary, Forest Conservation and Director, Sariska Tiger Reserve, Alwar was to the effect that eco sensitive zone of Sariska Tiger Reserve has not been notified yet.

The bench comprising of NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justices Sudhir Agarwal, Brijesh Sethi and assisted by Dr. Nagin Nanda, expert member directed the State PCB and District Magistrate, Alwar to take steps to stop operation of mining leases, operating illegally, without requisite consents and also to examine whether the leases for which consents are given are permissible.

The State PCB must also recover compensation for damage to the environment by illegal mining activities.

In addition, the Tribunal ordered the state of Rajasthan and the MoEF&CC to take further steps in the light of order of the Supreme Court for issuance of requisite notification for declaring the area around the Tiger Reserves to be an eco sensitive zone for protection of the said reserve. Rajasthan has been asked to furnish the requisite proposal in the light of Guidelines dated February 9, 2011 issued by the MoEF&CC to all the Chief Wildlife Wardens for eco sensitive zones.

The NGT further directed constitution of a joint Committee comprising MoEF&CC, CPCB, State PCB, Chief Wildlife Warden, SEIAA, Rajasthan and District Magistrate, Alwar to conduct a study about the carrying capacity of the area to sustain the mining activities on ‘Sustainable Development’ principle.