New Delhi: In a stern warning to Rajasthan government, the National Green Tribunal on Friday said its accounts might be attached and its officials could face punitive action, as they have not been able to stop illegal sand mining in the state.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar appointed a local commissioner and asked him to pay a surprise visit to Udaipur district where illegal sand mining was allegedly taking place and file a report.
"We make it clear that if the orders of tribunal are not complied with, then accounts of the state government may be attached and disobeying and defying officials may face punitive action. Local commissioner is at liberty to make a surprise visit to the area and file a report," the bench said.
The tribunal also asked the state government to pay a fee to local commissioner, advocate Daleep Kumar Dhyani, and provide necessary security to him during the visit.
The bench after perusing the photographs of illegal sand mining in the area directed the deputy commissioner, senior superintendent of police and director (mining) to ensure that no illegal mining will be carried out in the area.
The green panel also asked the state government to serve notices against whom cases have been lodged for illegal mining to appear before NGT and show cause them as to why they should not be asked to pay compensation for degrading environment.
Taking note of the fact, that department of mining has returned the seized sands and other mineral to the offenders after imposing and collecting the penalty, the bench asked the mining secretary of Rajasthan under what policy the minerals were returned.
"You have been rewarding the thieves. Secretary mining should tell us under what provisions and policy the minerals have been returned to the offenders, particularly when they do not have licence to do mining," the bench said.
The bench, while posting the matter for August 6, asked the state to file a comprehensive report regarding quantum of illegal mining done in Udaipur district and other areas from January 1 to June 30 and what action has been taken so far.
During the hearing, state government submitted that no illegal mining is being done after June 26 and since April, 2015, 93 cases have been registered against various people.
Counsel appearing for the state said that in April-May -June total of 500 metric tonne of sand was seized and Rs 25.7 lakh penalty was imposed on them.
The tribunal was hearing a petition filed by one Nanga Ram Dangi who alleged that illegal sand mining was taking place in and around Jaisamand lake in Udaipur district of Rajasthan due to which several villages of the areas were affected.