‘Illegal miners built bunds on Yamuna’: Court panel

Illegal sand miners in Haryana have built bunds (an embankment or causeway) across the Yamuna so that they could reach the river bed and excavate sand, a judicial committee appointed by the Delhi High Court has said.

The committee, headed by retired justice Indermeet Kaur, during an inspection on May 12 at Kanalsi and Mandoli stumbled upon hundreds of stone crushers and sites where sand and stone, mined from the river, were stacked.

The report also hinted that the Haryana government is ‘trying to provide a cover’ to the sand miners.

The committee, in its 134-page report to the court said Haryana has ‘deliberately and intentionally’ kept the information regarding the details of mining site permits along the river Yamuna in Haryana.

“Holding back such information, which in the opinion of the committee, is not a privileged communication, shows that the state is trying to provide a cover to the activities affecting not only the flow of water, but also causing environmental pollution and severely destroying the flora and fauna of the river Yamuna and its tributaries,” the committee said in its report.

On May 8, a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and justice AJ Bhambhani had constituted a committee to look into the allegations levelled by the Delhi Jal Board against construction of bunds on the Yamuna in Haryana, which were obstructing the flow of water to the national capital.

The decision was taken after the DJB, through its standing counsel advocate Sumeet Pushkarna, had filed an application in the high court, seeking permission to withdraw all its cases as Haryana had posed a condition before it. The plea had alleged that in a meeting of the Upper River Yamuna Board (URYB), the Haryana government had said that it would supply unobstructed flow of water to Delhi, if it withdraws all its cases against the neighbouring state.

During the inspection, officials of Haryana Irrigation department informed the committee that the state had undertaken a project to enhance the capacity of the Western Yamuna Canal for which 2000 cusecs water is being released in the Yamuna.

It is because of this excess water that mining contractors, who otherwise were getting the bed of Yamuna to carry out sand mining activity during the lean period, are unable to do so. For this purpose, they are constructing bunds.

On Friday, the bench directed Haryana to ensure free flow of water to the national capital even though it would pass a detailed order later. The matter would be now heard on July 22 till which time has been granted to Haryana government to file any objections to the report of the committee.

First Published:
May 25, 2019 03:02 IST

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