New Delhi: A central panel which looked into adverse environmental impact of illegal sand mining in Gautam Budh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh has recommended ban on in-stream mining and creation of safety zones in rivers.
In its report, submitted to Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan yesterday, the panel has found that "rampant, unscientific and illegal" mining has been going on at various locations in the district along the Yamuna river.
Suggesting further course of action to check ecological damage due to the mining, the panel said as per the directions of the Supreme Court dated February 27, last year, "all state governments need to frame Minor Mineral Concession Rules within a period of six months and submit their compliance report".
In the case of leases for riverbed sand mining, specific river stretches should be identified and mining permits or lease should be granted stretch wise, so that the requisite safeguard measures are duly implemented and are effectively monitored by the respective regulatory authorities, it said.
"The depth of mining may be restricted to 3m/water level, whichever is less."
For carrying out mining in proximity to any bridge or embankment, the panel suggested, "Appropriate safety zone should be worked out on case to case basis, taking into account the structural parameters, locational aspects, flow rate etc and no mining should be carried out in the safety zone so worked out."
"No in-stream mining should be permitted as it affects the aquatic life," said the report prepared by three-member panel headed by Saroj, a director in the Environment Ministry.
"In case the state government wishes to undertake in-stream mining they need to have a study conducted from recognised institution to examine the impact of mining of plankton, benthic flora and fauna, turbidity downstream and other related environmental parameters," it said.
It also suggests regular monitoring of the mining activity to ensure effective compliance of stipulated environmental conditions and that they abide by Minor Mineral Concession Rules of the State government.
Deputy collector of mines of IBM Dehradun office G C Meena and director in the regional office of Environment Ministry in Lucknow K K Garg were members of the panel constituted close on the heels of the crackdown on sand mining mafia by IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal.