Act against sand mining mafia: Ramesh to Pokhriyal

The environment minister had blamed Uttarakhand Government for the death of Swami Nigamanand.

Last Updated: Jun 17, 2011, 21:16 PM IST

New Delhi: Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, who had blamed Uttarakhand Government for the death of Swami Nigamanand after a four-month fast to protest sand mining in Ganga riverbed, on Friday shot off a strongly-worded letter to its Chief Minister asking him to immediately intervene to stop the illegal activities.

Ramesh also asked Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal `Nishank` to keep the Central Government informed about the actions taken by the state.

"It is unfortunate that, in spite of my repeated requests, no effective appears to have been taken by the state government to stop illegal river-bed sand mining," the minister said referring to his earlier letter to Nishank on January 06, last year, asking him to take steps to end the activities of mining mafia.

"Various media reports appearing in recent days confirm the inaction on the part of the state government," Ramesh said.

He said there is "huge public concern" on illegal river-bed sand mining taking place along the holy Ganga in Uttarakhand, particularly around Haridwar.

He stressed that this mining is in violation of the provisions of the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 and pointed out that the powers to frame rules to control illegal mining have been delegated to state governments.

"I once again request you for your immediate intervention to stop the ongoing illegal river-bed sand mining particularly around Haridwar," Ramesh said in his letter.

"I also request that the Ministry of Environment and Forests be kept informed of the actions taken by the state government," it said.

The 36-year-old seer had died on June 13 during his hunger strike against the activities of the sand mining mafia in the area.