Judgment of the National Green Tribunal regarding illegal beach sand mining and aquaculture, Andhra Pradesh, 18/07/2022

Judgment of the National Green Tribunal (Southern Zone, Chennai) in the matter of Venkatapathi Raja Yenumula Vs Union of India & Others dated 18/07/2022.

The grievance in the application is that along the coastal stretch of Bay of Bengal touching the adjoining villages of Pallipalem, Gogunnamatam of Rajole Mandalam, Kesavadasupalem, Chintalamori, Sankaraguptam, Padmatipalem, Turpupalem, Gollapalem, Karavaka, Kesinipally in Malikipuram and Sakhinetipalli mandals of East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, there were large-scale illegal beach sand mining happening. Apart from this, there were shrimp farms (aqua farms) being operated along the beach without getting any necessary permission or clearances from the respective departments.

The National Green Tribunal (Southern Zone, Chennai), July 18, 2022 directed Andhra Pradesh Aqua Culture Authority, Fisheries Department and the District Collectors to take appropriate action against those persons who are operating illegal/unauthorised aquaculture farms in the coastal zones or other areas without obtaining necessary permission or license from the respective authorities. Action would include removal of those units, disconnection of electricity, if any, given, imposing environmental compensation and initiating prosecution.

The Department of Mines and Geology and the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board, State Coastal Zone Authority and the District Collectors have been asked to monitor illegal sea shore sand mining and take action against those persons who are committing such activities strictly in accordance with law. Imposition of environmental compensation for illegal sand mining conducted in prohibited areas apart from initiating prosecution and recovery of penalties provided under the respective mining rules would be some of the actions to be undertaken by the authorities, the NGT said.

The Mines and Geology Department and the State Coastal Zone Management Authority should "strictly adhere to the sustainable sand mining policy of 2016 and Regulation of Maintenance and Enforcement of Guidelines, 2020".

Further, the Chief Secretary, Andhra Pradesh and Additional Chief Secretary or Principal Secretary for Environment and Forests have been directed to issue necessary directions to the implementing authorities to strictly implement the statutory provisions, regulating the aquaculture activities and sand mining in coastal zone areas and other areas strictly in accordance with directions issued by the NGT in several matters and also strictly complying with the guidelines issued by the MoEF&CC in this regard.