Andhra HC Warns Officials for Non-Action Against Illegal Sand Mining
Last week, the High Court of Andhra Pradesh called up officials responsible for not taking necessary action against the highly prevalent illegal sand mining activities in the island areas of Kedari Lanka & Bollanka in the East Godavari district. The bench was headed by Justice U. Durga Prasad Rao who said the officials tasked with the responsibility did not seem to be too bothered or interest in fulfilling their duties to prevent illegal sand mining by offenders.
The High Court of Andhra Pradesh stated that the officials were turning a sleepy eye after providing temporary permits to contractors and do not care to check for irregularities & indiscriminate illegal mining. The officials do seem to notice and find problems with irregularities & indiscriminate sand mining at a later point in time, but they impose normal or nominal fines on the offenders. The High Court bench stated that the officials have the power to impose fines of up to 5 times higher than the damage caused & even file criminal cases to prosecute them but the officials are barely exercising any of these powers they have at their disposal. The bench also said there is a lax in implementation of fines.
The High Court of Andhra Pradesh was moved by one B. Dhanaraj along with 2 others who filed suit against the illegal mining activity in & around the ecologically sensitive island surfaces of the Godavari River. The suit filed claims the illegal mining occurs under the guise of levelling allotted lands for housing sites but contractors end up mining sand & blunt clay illegally. The sand & clay act as protective barriers for agricultural lands, this activity of illegal sand mining is causing depletion of these barriers & hence the river’s course is being altered resulting in corrosion & flooding of agricultural fields.
The High Court asked the mining department of Andhra Pradesh for a statement on the issue to which the Assistant Government Pleader said that temporary permissions were issued for sand mining on the islands. In response, Justice Durga Prasad Rao stated that the fines imposed by the mining department on illegal mining activities should be more severe than just a slap on the wrists and advised them to take strict actions & use the full benefits of their powers to impose penalties.
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