The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday served notices to the Jagan government over the illegal sand mining in parts of the state, mainly in East Godavari.
Hearing a petition filed by E Venkatapathi Raju who sought action to prevent illegal sand mining in Rajole, Antarvedi and different parts of East Godavari, the NGT said it is the duty of the government to provide complete protection to the natural resources as a trustee of the public at large.
Further, the green panel has asked the government to constitute a committee to assess the loss to the environment and loss of natural resources. The petitioner also brought to the notice of the green panel that illegal cultivation of prawns was rampant along coastal East Godavari.
The NGT served notices to the Andhra Pradesh government, Central Environment Department, Central Pollution Control Board and Central Mining Department.
The green tribunal also ordered the Andhra Pradesh Coastal Regulatory Authority, East Godavari District collector, Central Environment Department and Central Pollution Control Board to constitute a panel to submit a detailed report on the illegal sand mining activity in East Godavari district. The NGT ordered the concerned departments to submit a report within three months from the receipt of its notice.
On its part, the Andhra Pradesh government denied any illegal sand mining. Hearing the arguments, the NGT has posted the case to October 8 for further hearing.
The new sand policy adopted by Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy has kicked up a political storm. Under the new policy, the Jagan sarkar took over all aspects of sand mining, including its supply, with the AP Mineral Development Corporation as the nodal agency.
TDP president and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu had often raised the issue of illegal mining which had led to artificial sand scarcity during the last five months, thereby affecting the livelihood of those who relied on the construction sector.
Even YSRCP leaders seem to be mighty displeased over Jagan’s sand policy. Vinukonda YSRCP MLA Bolla Brahma Naidu earlier had stated that the sand mafia was operating rampantly in his own constituency Vinukonda which is close to the Krishna River.
YSRCP MLA Kileru Rosaiah bemoaned that the sand was not reaching stock points, while Kothapet YSRCP legislator Jaggi Reddy slammed the APMDC saying it had miserably failed to supply sand to everyone. Further, he said the APMDC has failed to take steps to ensure transparency in sales and transportation of sand. Another YSRCP legislator Jaggi Reddy found fault with the online sale of sand. He said the moment one attempts to book sand through online, the sales seem to be over in five minutes.