While hearing a suo moto matter related to illegal Gypsum mining near the Indo-Pak border, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed top officials to look into the issue and take remedial measures.
The principal bench headed by the NGT chairperson Justice A K Goel directed the additional chief secretary, Mines and Geology, Rajasthan to look into the matter and take remedial actions. The issue pertains to the illegal mining of Gypsum near the Indo-Pakistan border in Bikaner, Rajasthan.
The NGT had initiated a suo moto hearing after taking cognisance of the media reports on illegal mining near the Indo-Pak border.
The NGT had also issued a notice to the Pollution Control Board of Rajasthan.
The board filed its response and stated that mining is prohibited within one kilometre of the border. Despite this illegal mining was being carried in by an individual owner of land within 250 metres of the border.
The board also stated that illegal mining was done to the extent of 172.5 tonnes of Gypsum. A penalty of Rs 2.96 lakh was collected from the violator.
There is, however, no response about the allegation of 150 trucks being engaged in illegal mining, the bench noted.
Though it is stated that removal of Gypsum for improvement of land is outside the definition of mine, Rule 52 of Rajasthan Minor Mineral Concession, as amended in 2022 shows that such removal has to be only with the permission and for improvement of land and not for commercial purpose, it further noted.
“However, it appears that mining in question has taken place not merely for improvement of the land but for commercial purposes,” the NGT said.
The bench said that the compensation for violation has to be as per laid down norms.
In the absence thereof, apart from the issue of damage to the environment, the loss of Revenue of the State remains unaddressed. This may call for intervention at a higher level, it added.
“Accordingly, we direct ACS, Mines and Geology, Rajasthan to look into the matter and take remedial action in coordination with other concerned authorities in respect of the incident in question as well as any other such incidents,” the order stated.