Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Orissa High Court continued the ban on sand mining from river beds after a hearing on Thursday.

The High Court wanted to know the specific policy for lifting sand from sand mining points. In 2016, the Central Government had issued guidelines regarding the lifting of sand from river beds. The petitioner informed the court about the violation of the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

The HC also issued a show-cause notice to the State government on its recent notice allowing sand mining from river beds despite HC ban on December 21.

The case will be heard in the next hearing on Monday, where the state government will be represented by the Advocate General.

“The High Court had stopped mining from 15 sand mining points. But mining department officials through a government notification allowed mining of sand. The HC has issued a show-cause notice to the department for the same,” said the counsel of the petitioner Sukant Kumar Dalai.

“The sand mining policy of 2016 says mining cannot be done in mechanised manner. It can only be done manually. The AG will clarify that in the court on the next hearing,” he added.

It is pertinent to mention here that a petition was filed in the Orissa High Court over illegal sand mining in Cuttack citing that such activities are leading to a rise in accidents and dust pollution. Besides, illegal sand mining is also creating traffic issues due to the movement of heavy trucks in the city, the petition contended.

On December 21 last year, the Orissa HC issued a stay order on sand mining. On the same day, the Odisha Mines Department came up with a fresh notification that allowed sand mining in case of necessity.

The court again stopped the mining on January 10.