Riverbed Mining Case: NGT Serves Notice To JK Authorities, Gurugram Firm

Shali Ganga after mining. Picture Credits: Raja Muzaffar Bhat for KO

Srinagar- The principal bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday issued a one month notice to the J&K Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) and NKC Projects Private Limited in an alleged illegal grant of Environmental Clearance (EC) for riverbed Mining case.

While hearing a petition, a division bench of NGT including Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel(Chairperson NGT) and Professor A. Senthil Vel (Expert member) noted that the division bench has found it necessary to seek a response from the PP[Project Proponent, who is the contractor in this case] and SEIAA, J&K within one month.”

“List for further consideration on 02.08.2022. A copy of this order be forwarded to the PP and EIAA, J&K by email for compliance. The appellant may serve a set of papers on the PP and SEIAA, J&K and file an affidavit of service within one month.”

A petition was filed by prominent environmental activist, Dr. Raja Muzaffar Bhat challenging the environmental clearance (EC) issued for the riverbed mining in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district. The prayer was to quash and set aside the EC granted for the mining.

“This appeal has been preferred against grant of Environmental Clearance (EC) for minor mineral block No. 4, Panzan Bridge to Trumbi Bagh (Lalgam), Downstream Shaliganga Nallah, Village Lalgam, Tehsil Chadoora District Budgam, JK UT (resized area – 2.90 ha.), under proposal No. SIA/JK/MIN/255737/2022 & SIA/JK/MIN/233732/2021, vide order dated 19.04.2022 by J&K SEIAA, in favor of Respondent No.4, M/s NKC Project Pvt. Ltd Gurugram.” The NGT bench has noted.

Pertinently, main objection of the Dr. Bhat claimed that the impugned EC was in violation of Rule 4(iv) of Jammu and Kashmir Minor Mineral Concession which states that the Licensee of a unit/plant/crusher should maintain all records of the minor minerals procured, processed and supplied to further destinations and submit monthly returns.

Besides claiming a violation of Rule 4, Bhat had also objected to the riverbed mining work alleging that there was a violation of Transportation of Minerals and Prevention of Illegal Mining Rules, 2016 which prohibits mining within 25 meters from embankment. Mining site

Talking to Kashmir Observer, Dr. Raja Muzaffar says that the riverbed is already over-exploited and not fit for a mining zone. It will result in disruption of flow and will subsequently impact Hokersar wetland.

“No District Survey Report has been prepared, as per the Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2016. They’re using JCB for mining despite clear instructions for not using a JCB in these riverbeds. Above all, no replenishment study has been conducted as per Enforcement & Monitoring Guidelines for Sand Mining, 2020,” says Dr. Bhat while expressing his anguish over the flawed tenders issued for riverbed minings.

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Zaid Bin Shabir

Zaid Bin Shabir is a special correspondent at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @Zaidbinshabir

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