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India’s northeast states against the decision of Green Tribunal on sand mining
India’s northeast states against the decision of Green Tribunal on sand mining

Agartala, Sept 27 (TIWN) Tripura and few other northeastern states have raised objection against the ruling of the ‘National Green Tribunal’ (NGT), which banned sand mining across the country on river beds without the permission of union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MEF). Tripura forest and industries minister Jitendra Choudhury Friday said that the state government through the government’s standing council in New Delhi urged the NGT to remove its regulation immediately.

Expressing his regret over the NGT’s judgment, Choudhury said : The Tripura government had banned mining of sand and silt-mud on river beds and rivulets through the machineries. Manual mining of sand and silt-mud on river beds and rivulets can continue otherwise it would affect the construction works in a large scale.”

He said that the Tripura government has been undertaken a massive plantations in the hills, mountains and catchments to keep the originality of the rivers and rivulets in the bordering state.

Mr Choudhury said : “The Tripura government has also sent a project report to the union ministry of shipping for approval to augment the navigation of the main rivers in Tripura, specially Gomti and Howra, which also flows to neighbouring Bangladesh.”

According to the minister, the state-owned RITES (Rail India Technical and Economic Service) has recently presented a detailed project report (DPR) to raise the navigation in the Gomti and Howra rivers.

“The RITES’s DPR would be modified further before taking the final decision by the state government and submitted it to the central government.”

The RITES in its DPR has sought at least Rs 20 crore to carry out dredging and construct terminals in the two rivers.

The issue of banning of sand mining across the country by the NGT was also discussed in the Tripura assembly Thursday after the matter was raised by the Congress legislator Bishabandhu Sen.

Ministers and officials of Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur governments separately expressed their annoyance against the order of the NGT. “In most of the northeastern states manual mining of sand and silt-mud on river beds and rivulets are going on and no mechanical devices were used for the collection of sands from the rivers and rivulets,” they added.

A Mizoram forest department official said in Aizawl that the NGT without studying the situation in the northeast region has issued the directives through their order no 171-2013 in general for the entire country including this mountainous region.

He said : “Obtaining clearance from the MEF in New Delhi for sand mining in Mizoram would be a gigantic task for the people in the northeastern states.”

Ministers and officials of Tripura, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur have urged the NGT to withdraw their verdict considering the situation in the northeastern region of India.

The NGT last month issued a nationwide stay on sand mining on river beds without clearance from the MEF.

The interim order came on a petition filed by the NGT bar association as a response to the suspension of IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal, who had been supervising a drive against illegal sand mining in Gautam Budh Nagar district in Uttar Pradesh.

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