The National Green Tribunal has directed the Telangana government to comply with a committee’s recommendation asking it to submit closure plans for Medigadda sand stock yard enabling it for agriculture.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel also asked the state government to comply with the recommendations of the committee, formed by it, comprising of the Central Pollution Control Board, state PCB and SEIAA, Telangana. The committee visited the 100-hectare Medigadda sand stockyard containing 4 lakh cubic metre per day (as reported by Telangana State Mineral Development Corporation officials) in a private land taken on lease.
The committee recommended that the TSMDC have to submit closure plans for all the stock yards enabling it for agriculture use again once the stocks are cleared. Reclamation of land for agriculture.
Apart from compliance of the recommendations of the Committee by the State of Telangana and its authorities, Sustainable Sand Mining Guidelines issued by the MoEF under the EP Act may be followed.
The issue of free distribution of sand in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution is beyond our jurisdiction and the said issue may be raised at appropriate forum, if so desired, the bench said.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by NGO, ‘Readiness for Empowerment’ through Legitimate Action (RELA) and others, filed through advocate Sravan Kumar, alleging that in the name of de-siltation, sand mining is being done without mandatory environmental clearance, to provide free sand to the construction companies.
Sand mining is said to be taking place at various places including in District Guntur, Andhra Pradesh. In the State of Telangana, sand is being mined illegally from Godavari and Krishna Rivers. The same is booked online at the rate of Rs 9000/- per truck. In Hyderabad, it is sold at the rate of Rs 45000/- per truck.
The State of Telangana is allotting such sand to private contractors for diverting the same to black mafia. Transportation results in accidents and air pollution, the plea alleged.