Sand mining charge on Left
Agartala: Tripura forest minister Mevar Kumar Jamatia on Tuesday alleged that illegal sand mining had continued for years under the erstwhile Left Front government in violation of National Green Tribunal and Supreme Court guidelines and that government officials were involved.
A group of BJP and CPM legislators jointly moved a notice during the budget session of the Assembly about the crisis in the construction sector because of sand mining ban.
During a discussion on the notice, Jamatia said the National Green Tribunal, in an order on August 8, 2013, restrained any person, company or authority to undertake mining to remove sand from riverbed anywhere in the country without obtaining environmental clearance from the ministry of environment and forests and licence from a competent authority.
Accordingly, the erstwhile Left Front government issued an order in September 2013 to all district magistrates, superintendents of police, district forest officers and other officials, "restraining" riverbed sand mining without proper approval and licence. However, no steps were taken to implement the order, he said.
"The previous government did not take any step despite getting the notice. Knowingly or unknowingly, the notice was brushed under the carpet. There has been indiscriminate sand mining, stone extraction, wood trade, all without any licence, for the past five years," Jamatia alleged.
He said 99 per cent contractors in Tripura do not have licence for sand mining. Many of these people are CPM cadres, he alleged.
"How can a state work like this? The Left Front government was undertaking illegal activities. We implemented the guidelines after we came to power," he told the House.
He said a few people engaged in illegal sand mining were arrested after the BJP-IPFT government assumed office. "The serious issue is that government employees are engaged in this kind of illegal work," he added.
On the crisis in the construction sector, he said the guidelines wil be relaxed for a month during which all contractors engaged in sand mining must obtain licences or they will have to face action.