CPCB report on illegal mining in the stretch of river Betwa, Hamirpur district, Uttar Pradesh, 11/11/2022

Additional observations of the member representing the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in response to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order in Original Application No. 393/2022, Ashish Kumar Dwivedi Vs State of Uttar Pradesh & Others.

The matter is related to illegal mining in the stretch of river Betwa in Hamirpur district, Uttar Pradesh.

The lease areas (sanctioned and allotted) to M/s Annapurna Udhyog and Anand Kumar Gupta are situated throughout the river stream section. It has been informed that the instructions to not conduct excavation in the active river stream has been mentioned in the lease deeds of the miners. In the inspections carried out by the mining office, a temporary bridge across the river stream was found constructed by Annapurna Udyog. The bridge has been dismantled as well as a penalty has also been imposed for the same by the mining office.

The report said that all the mines were carrying out excavation higher than the permitted daily quantity.

The "exceedance is even up to 12.9 times higher than the permitted daily limit". The excavations at such a high rate have very adverse environmental impacts and indicate the possibility of use of heavy machinery by these mining proponents, the CPCB report added.

Following are some of the findings based on the Google Earth images for the month of February 2022. Around 77 illegal excavated pits are visible in the stretch of river Betwa. Similarly, 28 haulage and intersecting trucks are also visible in and around these pits. Excavator machines and trucks and tippers were seen on these haul roads. Most of the illegal pits are located around the mining projects namely M/s Kanha Construction Company and Shrikant Gupta.

The digital satellite images are indicative of the extent of illegal mining in the stretch of river Betwa in the Hamirpur district. "However, these need to be further verified through the concerned agencies and need to develop a mechanism to control these activities," the report said.

Note: The CPCB report of November 11, 2022 was uploaded to the NGT site, December 7, 2022.