19 February 2020
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday was surprised to learn that rampant illegal sand mining was in progress in Rajasthan, despite the ban on such activities years ago.
Taking a strong view on the matter, the top court directed the state government and an array of high-ranking officials in administration and police to take immediate steps in the matter.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant sought a report from the state government within four weeks on action taken.
"Illegal sand mining could damage the environment irreparably", said the court.
The observation from the apex court came on a clutch of petitions connected to sand mining in Rajasthan. The top court had issued orders in 2017 to stop illegal sand mining in the state.
The Supreme Court also ordered state government, and the Collectors and Superintendents of Police (SP) of all districts in Rajasthan to take immediate action to stop rampant illegal sand mining.
The bench also directed the apex court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) to examine the issues of illegal sand mining and submit a report recommending measures on this matter.
The top court observed that the CEC would take into account the issues faced by stakeholders involved in the matter, which includes sand traders, transporters and associated others.
In conducting the detailed probe on the matter, the CEC would also have the authority to summon people, including government officials, fix responsibility as well as give suggestions on way forward. The court said the CEC would submit its report within six weeks.