The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has said that the Goa State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (Goa-SEIAA) cannot issue any permits for sand extraction in the state till May 17.
The final hearing in the sand extraction matter filed by the Goa River Sand Protectors Network will take place on that date.
“As per our January 2 order, assurance was given by the Goa-SEIAA that till the next date, no permit for sand extraction would be issued, that order will continue till the next date. Put up this matter for final hearing on May 17,” the tribunal said, after the state authority sought two weeks to file its reply in the matter.
The Goa River Sand Protectors Network had filed the appeal before the tribunal stating that the Goa-SEIAA had granted four environment clearances at four different locations in Goa permitting sand mining. But these clearances were given even though the “requisite district survey report has not been prepared nor replenishment study conducted”.
The appeal said that the impact of the mining on the entire cluster is required to be studied. It alleged that the environment clearances by the Goa-SEIAA are against the law laid down by the Supreme Court and the tribunal, besides violating the Union environment ministry’s January 15, 2016 notification.
“The impugned environment clearance has been granted without following the said procedure,” the appeal said.
The Goa-SEIAA had approved sand mining in four stretches of Chapora at its meeting held on October 5, 2021. The extraction in the four zones, where the activity has been approved, has to be carried out using only the manual method, the Goa-SEIAA had said.
To begin with, sand extraction in these four zones will take up only at 50% capacity for the first three years. T
he capacity thereafter will be decided after this three-year period ends, the Goa-SEIAA had stated.
Following this permission by the Goa-SEIAA, the NGT was approached last year.