Illegal sand mining has come down by almost 95%: govt tells High Court

Panaji: Advocate General Devidas Pangam has made a statement before the High Court of Bombay at Goa that illegal sand mining has come down by almost 95 percent.

The High Court was hearing a petition on the issue of non-implementation of various directions issued by the Court in the judgment and order dated December 18, 2019, in PIL Writ Petition No 14/2018, in relation to illegal sand mining in the state of Goa.

The Court observed that in order to effectively implement the directions issued by this Court and in order to ensure that there is regular monitoring of the departments which are involved in the process, like Mines and Geology, Captain of Ports, Directorate of Transport, etc the said department will submit fortnightly reports to the Chief Secretary. Such reports will be submitted through the Directorate of Mines and Geology.

The Advocate General informed the Court that on January 15, 2020, a meeting was held in the chamber of the Chief Secretary on the issue of implementation of the directions. A compliance report prepared by the Mines and Geology department was also placed on record.

A counsel for the petitioner expressed hope that the measures will continue to be taken, so that there is no illegal sand mining in the state of Goa.

The Court’s division bench comprising Justice M S Sonak and Justice M S Jawalkar observed that although, counsel for the petitioner expressed some reservation on the issue of non-seizure of the illegally extracted sand, looking to the measures adopted we do not think that any purpose will be served either initiating any action for contempt, or by keeping this petition pending. Taking into consideration the measures taken,

as also the assurances given by the Advocate General, we dispose of this Contempt Petition.

The Advocate General has also placed on record summary of patrol cum inspection report dated January 16, 2020, which is signed by the Deputy Captain of Ports. This report refers to the measures carried out by the Captain of Ports Department,

particularly, in relation to random patrolling at various locations at river Mandovi and river Chapora.

It may be noted that the High Court on December 18, 2019, order had directed the state and its various departments to undertake regular patrolling through flying squads at all stretches of rivers.

The High Court had said that such patrolling shall not be at any fixed time of the day but randomly during the day and during the night, so as to genuinely surprise those indulging in illegal sand mining and ensure the stoppage of such illegal sand mining. [NT]