Illegal sand mining: SC notice to five States, including Tamilnadu

File photo of Supreme Court of India

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today sought responses from the Centre, CBI and five States, including Tamilnadu, on a plea which sought prosecution of entities involved in illegal sand mining.

A bench, headed by Justice S A Bobde, issued notices to the Centre, the Central Bureau of Investigation, Tamilnadu, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh on a plea which claimed that rampant illegal mining in the States was causing environmental degradation.

During the arguments, advocates Prashant Bhushan and Pranav Sachdeva, appearing for the petitioner, told the court that sand mining was going on in the States without the requisite environmental clearance.

The plea also sought a direction from the apex court to the CBI to “register and investigate sand mining scams” mentioned in the petition.

In March this year, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court expressed concern over illegal mining of natural wealth, including sand, and directed officials to get details of action taken against those allowing it and the number of people booked.

Justices N Kirubakaran and S S Sundar gave the direction on a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking action against illegal mining in Dindigul district and sought to know the designation of the officials against whom the Goondas Act had been invoked for allegedly conniving with the illegal miners.

The judges wanted to know about the provisions invoked against illegal mining and transporting sand while registering the FIR, and asked how money had been collected as fine for such activity in the last 10 years.

They asked if the fine was levied or cost of the minerals was recovered.

The judges then directed the government to collect Rs 75 lakh from the officials for allowing illegal mining in unapproved areas in Sitharevu village in the Attur area of Dindigul district.

Stating that the case pertaining to the district was only the tip of the iceberg, the judges said illegal mining of sand and blue metal had become a regular feature in Tamilnadu.

(With PTI inputs)

NT Bureau