Ramesh slams U’khand govt over illegal sand mining

The Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday slammed the Uttarakhand government for its inaction against the illegal sand mining.

Last Updated: Jun 21, 2011, 21:47 PM IST

Hyderabad: The Union Environment Minister
Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday slammed the Uttarakhand government for its
inaction against the illegal sand mining in the state and said
that sending show-cause or closure notices to the state would
be Centre`s last resort.

He criticised the Uttarakhand government for its
"inaction over 18 months despite repeated intimations from the
environment ministry to the state government."

The union minister made this comment on the sidelines of
the fourth international summit on Microfinance, which began
here today.

He said that even though sand mining comes under the
purview of the state government, the Union ministry can
intervene if the state fails to take suitable action.

In view of the sensitive nature of the issue, if the
state government does not take credible action within
the time-frame, we (the environment ministry) would not
hesitate to take action," Ramesh said.

"Under section 5 of the Environment Protection Act, I
have powers to issue show cause and closure notices both. We
will exercise that option as the last resort only, he added.

Illegal sand mining became a political issue
in Uttarakhand with the death of 36-year-old Swami Nigamanand
last week, who demanded stopping of quarrying in the Ganga.

Replying to question on POSCO project in Orissa, Ramesh
said the issue has to be dealt with by the Orissa government
and also said that he was against a forcible acquisition of
land from farmers and poor people.

"I am sure, the government will demonstrate greatest
sensibility. Children seem to be in the first line attack. So
situation has to be handled very carefully. And I hope no
untoward incident will take place," he said.

Regarding the Polavaram project, Ramesh said, the Andhra
Pradesh government has come forward to construct an
embankment wall in Malkangiri and Dantewada districts of
Orissa and Chhattisgarh respectively.

PTI