Mrunal Manmay Dash

A four-member team of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday visited the Budhabalang riverbed at Mahupura under Badasahi tehsil in Mayurbhanj for the second time to inspect the magnitude of sand theft and its environmental impacts.

As per reports, a team comprising officials of the NGT, local Tehsildar, other staff of district administration and the police conducted a joint inspection of the region to ascertain the damages to a nearby bridge and also whether Budhabalang river and its nearby ecosystem have been adversely hit due to illegal mining.

The team will submit the report at the NGT after completion of inspection.

It is pertinent to mention here that, there have been allegations of rampant sand theft from the riverbed in the past, prompting the tribunal to initiate a probe. This inspection by the green body on Monday is the second phase of exercise.

Notably, the Tehsildar of Badasahi in Mayurbhanj went missing just a day before a sand smuggler Pradeep Bindhani was arrested on April 30 for lifting sand way beyond his lease area.

The Tehsildar, Mumtaz Maharana was allegedly hands in gloves with the accused Bindhani and had received severe reprimand from the NGT. The tribunal after reviewing the ground situation at the Dingira and Arapata riverbed on Budhabalang river had sought an explanation from the district Collector on her conduct.

As per reports, Pradeep Bindhani was awarded the sand mining lease at Dingira and Arapata riverbeds near Badasahi, but he had reportedly mined more than his limits and flouted all the guidelines. After repeated complaints by the locals, the NGT took the matter into cognisance and sent a team to the spot to review the situation.

The NGT has ruled that Bindhani mined 200 percent more sand from his stipulated lease and used heavy machinery to mine sand altering the flow path of the river.