NGT issues notice to authorities in Pulwama over illegal mining in Romshi Nallah

SRINAGAR — The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued notice to Deputy Commissioner Pulwama and State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) over alleged illegal mining on a riverbed in Romshi nallah in the district.

The NGT, presided over by Justice Prakash Srivastava (Chairperson) and Dr A Senthil Veil (Expert Member), responded to a petition filed by social activist Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat. The bench directed the District Magistrate Pulwama and SEIAA to submit detailed reports before the next hearing scheduled for February 5th, 2024.

In their order, the NGT bench acknowledged the significant environmental issues raised in the original application and deemed it necessary to issue notices to the respondents.

The counsel for the petitioner, Advocate Rahul Chowdhary, was instructed to serve the respondents and file an affidavit of service before the next hearing. Additionally, Respondent No. 2, J&K Environment Impact Assessment Authority, and Respondent No. 5, District Magistrate, Pulwama, were directed to file their reports at least one week before the next hearing.

Advocate Rahul Chowdhary informed the NGT that the mining activity violated the Sustainable Sand Mining Guidelines, 2016, Enforcement & Monitoring Guidelines for Sand Mining, 2020, and the conditions of Environmental Clearance (EC) dated March 4, 2022. These breaches included mining outside the prescribed area and the use of heavy machinery.

Dr Muzaffar, the petitioner expressed optimism that, similar to the NGT’s intervention in stopping illegal riverbed mining in Doodh Ganga since June 1st, Romshi Nallah would also be free from such activities in the coming months.

The ongoing case related to Doodh Ganga has seen the Geology and Mining Department Budgam paying a Rs 1 crore penalty, with a pending Rs 32 crore sanction for restoration on NGT’s orders. — (Agencies)