Monday , 25 March 2019

Illegal sand mining: govt files affidavit in HC saying flying squads will be deployed



Under pressure to monitor illegal sand mining in the state, the government on Friday filed an affidavit in court that flying squads cum patrolling boats would be deployed wherever sand extraction is carried out.

The affidavit, submitted by the department of mines to the High Court of Bombay in Goa, says that flying squads would be deployed in six locations including Canacona, Salcette, Quepem, Sanguem, Dharbandora and Mormugao.

It says that patrolling boats will be supplied by the Captain of Ports and the coastal security police. “Patrolling boats will be provided to the department whenever we need them,” says the affidavit signed by Prasanna Acharya, director of mines.

The court however was not entirely satisfied with the answer and adjourned the case to after Ganesh Chaturthi.

On September 10, the High Court had reprimanded the government for not complying with its earlier instructions of deploying flying squads to curb illegal sand mining. The department was pulled up for not having a patrolling plan in place on the rivers and for only doing road surveillance.

The court said that a regulatory mechanism with functional boats and a complaint forum for observers of illegal sand mining to register complaints must be set up immediately to avoid any restraint order before the sand mining season starts on October 1.

The High Court emphasised the fact that although an enforcement squad was formed on August 22, 2013, it remained non-functional as there was no functional boat.  “It is obvious that the state will not be able to curb illegal sand mining if it does not have an enforcement mechanism in the form of a patrolling squad,” said the court.

The petition on lack of patrolling and absence of monitoring measures to check illegal sand extraction was made by the Federation of Rainbow Warriors against the government. The department of mines had granted 458 permits for sand extraction in 2017.

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