In its order dated November 18, the NGT imposed environmental damage compensation of Rs 12 crore against M/s Mubarikpur Royalty Company, Rs 4.2 crore on M/s Delhi Royalty Company and Rs 2.5 crore on M/s Development Strategies India Private Limited.
All three mining firms were allotted leases in 2015 to carry out mining activities at different sites in Yamunanagar district along the Yamuna river. The order has been passed by the NGT bench of justice Adarsh Kumar Goel (chairperson), justice Sudhir Agarwal (judicial member) and Prof A Senthil Vel (expert member).The action followed the report of a monitoring committee led by justice (retired) Pritam Pal.
The three mining firms committed illegal mining, besides diverting the river flow, in stream mining and use of heavy machinery in violation of the environmental clearance conditions, the NGT order pointed out.
The NGT order stated that the violations include failure to implement progressive mine closure plan, mining beyond the permitted depth and no measures for rehabilitation of land on which mining was undertaken. The mining firms did not develop green belts and also failed to erect necessary boundary pillars. They also failed to install CCTV cameras, the tribunal observed.
The mining firms also did not maintain roads for transportation of mined material, besides failing to install GPS systems on the mining/transportation vehicles. Illegal screening plant was found within the premises and safety measures for the workers were not adopted. Mining was illegally done with the help of JCB earth moving machines, the tribunal added.
Delhi Royalty Company was allotted 13.59 hectare site at Kohliwala village in Chhachhrauli block for mining boulders, gravel and sand for eight years.
The monitoring committee found that the firm undertook mining beyond the permissible limit of 9m depth and continued mining even after expiry of the lease. The company was also using groundwater, brought in tankers, in place of treated sewage water for settling the dust at the mining site. An illegal screening plant was also found at the mining site.
Similarly, Mubarikpur Royalty Company was allotted 28 hectares (non-forest land) in Bailgarh village in Chhachhrauli block, where the monitoring committee found that the firm was undertaking mining by not maintaining distance of 500m from the active edge of the embankment of the Yamuna river. The firm was committing mining just on the embankment of the river, which is a violation.
Development Strategies India Private Limited was allotted 23.05 hectares at Pobari village in Radaur block for mining boulders, gravel and sand. The monitoring committee found that boundary pillars at the mining lease area were not adequate, no barrier of 7.5m was set up, no CCTV cameras were installed, mining was undertaken at 250m from the active embankment of Yamuna, weigh bridge was not provided, condition of road was not good and natural flow of Yamuna was diverted to extract more sand.
The compensation by the erring mining firms would be deposited with the Haryana State Pollution Control Board and it would be utilised for restoration of environment by preparing and executing an action plan in consultation with the district magistrate, the NGT stated. The action plan needs to cover restoration of degraded areas, post-mining remedial measures, restoring natural flow of river and taking other restitution activities as required, it added.
“The utilisation may be ensured as far as possible within six months. If the mining firms fail to pay the amount, it will be open to the authorities to take coercive measures, including blacklisting, recovery from their security, if any available with the state, or otherwise.
The firms may not be allowed to undertake further mining in view of serious violations already committed,” read the NGT order.