Ministry of environment and forest wants probe report on table by tomorrow -Vishwa Mohan

-The Times of India

NEW DELHI: Buoyed by the action taken by young IAS officer Durga Sakthi Nagpal against sand mafia, the union ministry of environment and forest, which has constituted a committee to inquire into the allegations of illegal sand mining in Uttar Pradesh's Gautam Budh Nagar district, has asked for the panel report by Friday. The three-member committee will also look into "adverse environmental impact" of such activities and suggest "further course of action in the matter" under the Environment Protection Act, 1986.

Taking a cue from Nagpal's action, the ministry set up the committee on Tuesday to ascertain the "factual position" of the alleged illegal sand mining as being highlighted by the media.

Stating that the illegal mining has serious environmental and ecological repercussions, the ministry's office order said, "The Committee - headed by a director-rank officer of the ministry - will submit its report to the ministry by August 9". Though the illegal sand mining had reportedly been going in the area for long, it caught the government's attention only when the media highlighted the episode in the wake of stern action taken by the local sub-divisional magistrate (Durga Sakthi Nagpal) against the miners in July.

Stung, the Akhilesh Yadav government suspended Nagpal for her bold action on July 27. A local politician was caught in camera claiming how he got the IAS officer suspended for taking action against sand miners. The claim, however, has been rubbished by the state government. The episode resonated during the ongoing monsoon session in Parliament, prompting the government to order an inquiry in the light of the last year's Supreme Court order.

The Times of India, 8 August, 2013,

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