The National Green Tribunal has directed Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and Uttarakhand government to conduct an inspection on the river bed of river Gaula in the state and submit a status report in two weeks.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swantanter Kumar also directed MoEF and the Harish Rawat government to strictly ensure that no illegal mining takes place on the river bed.
“MoEF and the State Government will conduct an inspection and ensure that no illegal mining on the river bed of river Gaula is carried out till that date...the inspection report should be filed within two weeks,” the bench, also comprising Justice M S Nambiar, said.
The direction came while hearing a contempt plea filed by environment activist Dinesh Pandey who has alleged that illegal mining is still continuing on Gaula river in violation of the tribunal’s order passed in January this year.
Pandey, in his plea, filed through advocate Rahul Choudhary, has sought quashing of the “forest clearance” granted by the state government for collection of stone, boulders and other minor minerals in an area spanning 1,497 hectares in river bed of river Gaula for a period of 10 years.
The Gaula River originates in the Sattal lakes of Uttarakhand state, and flows south past Kathgodam, Haldwani, and Shahi, finally joining the Ramganga River about 15 km northwest of Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh.