Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has registered a suo motu case and issued notices to the Sundargarh district administration and Biramitrapur Tehsil on the basis of reports aired on OTV over the subject of alleged illegal sand mining at Teterkela ghat near Rourkela.

In a bid to investigate the matter, the apex environmental watchdog has set up a committee comprising officials of Central Pollution Control Board, Odisha State Pollution Control Board, State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) and the Collector of Sundargarh.

Notably, the report about the alleged illegal sand mining was aired on OTV on November 27, 2021. Taking note of the report, the NGT has registered suo motu case and issued notice to the district administration.

As per the notice served by NGT, “One Amit Kumar Sahoo, lessee of ‘Khata’ no 84, ‘Kisam’ (variant) Nadi (river) spread across 4.68 hectares has already been arrested and illegal machines including JCBs, trucks and tractors have been seized from Teterkela sand ghat, Biramitrapur.”

However, "It is further reported that illegal sand mining is still rampant in the area. We find it necessary to ascertain the facts and remedial action by the concerned authorities. Therefore, we constitute a joint committee to investigate the matter,” the NGT order further read.

Earlier in September 2021, the Supreme Court had declared that the National Green Tribunal is vested with suo motu powers to take cognizance of any issue on the basis of letters, representations and media reports. 

(Edited by Suryakant Jena)