NGT stops private company from carrying out mining in Budgam river

BUDGAM — The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has restrained a private company from engaging in any mining activity in Shali Ganga river in Budgam.

According to an order, the NGT has restrained NKC Projects Pvt Ltd from engaging in any mining operations in the mentioned river.

The Tribunal directed J&KPCB and District Magistrate Budgam to ensure compliance of the order.

Talking to the news agency Kashmir News Observer KNO, appellant Raja Muzaffar said that he “took the step and challenged the environmental clearances for mining in the Nallah as private company started using heavy machinery like JCBs, Excavators/L&T hydraulic excavators for mining purpose at three places in Nallah Shaliganga.”

He added that the NKC Project Pvt. Ltd holds the contract for Srinagar Semi Ring Road and uses the material from the Shali Ganga stream for constructing the road.

“I filed an appeal before the NGT who maintained that the grant of ECA for minor mineral block No. 4 spreading 2.90 hectares on the bed of the Shali Ganga stream in Lalgam village in the district is in violation of Jammu and Kashmir Minor Mineral Concession, Transportation of Minerals and Prevention of Illegal Mining Rules, 2016 which prohibits mining within 25 meters from the embankment,” he said.

According to Bhat, the NGT had previously stayed the mining work in a preliminary ruling on August 12 but today, the NGT entirely barred the company (NKC) from doing any mining in Shali Ganga river.

Three areas where the company was mining include River Bed Minor Mineral in Block No. 1, Dreigam Bridge Downstream Shaliganga Nallah, Tehsil- Khansahib, District-Budgam, M/s. NKC Projects Pvt. Ltd., Block 2, Banderpora Upstream Shaliganga Nallah, District Budgam and Minor Mineral Block 4, Panzan Bridge to Trumbi Bagh (Lalgam) Downstream Shaliganga Nallah, District Budgam.

Bhat said that the company NKC didn’t follow Environment clearance (EC) guidelines including use of JCB’s, mining during night.

According to an order by NGT, it reads that, it has been brought to our notice that Rule 4(iv) of J&K Minor Mineral Rules, 2016 has been amended by SRO 267 dated 03.07.2017 and restriction has now been reduced to 10 meters from river embankment.

The NGT noted that only submission is that heavy machines like JCB etc. have been used for mining activities and, therefore, the proponent has violated the conditions of EC.

The order said, “The violation of condition of EC by itself will not vitiate the EC but may cause penal action like cancellation of EC or cancellation of mining contract and/or imposition of environmental compensation and other remedial and punitive action as provided in law. Since it is within the competence of J&K PCB to take appropriate action in this regard, we direct J&K PCB to take appropriate action on this aspect.” — (KNO)