As the row continues over suspended Indian Administrative Service officer Durga Shakti Nagpal, who had taken on the sand mafia in Noida, the ministry formed a three-member committee under its director Saroj. The team will submit its report by Friday, a ministry official said.

The team visited some of the mining-prone sites in villages like Kondli, Gulabli, Jatta, Badli, Nangli Wajidpur and Naipur. They carried the inspection without being accompanied by officials from the district administration.

The ministry official’s video graphed sites where mining was rampant. They, however, refused to share the details. "We have gathered some crucial information from these areas. We would submit the report to the ministry soon," said an official.

Social activist Dushyant Nagar said, "The team of ministry officials visited some of the most highly mined sites. We would give a representation to the environment minister about the issue. The state government has been looting the state of its rich natural resources."

"The mining is being done by the mafia, shielded by the state government," he said. The ministry said that the committee will ascertain the factual position and suggest a course of action in the sand mining issue.

"During the last few days, various media reports have been highlighting the menace of alleged illegal sand mining in Noida. Illegal mining has serious environmental and ecological repercussions," the official said.

The National Green Tribunal on Monday banned sand mining from riverbeds across the country without prior environmental clearance.

Nagpal, a 28-year-old 2009 batch officer, was suspended by the Uttar Pradesh government July 29. The state government said that she was suspended for ordering the demolition of a mosque wall, and this could have led to communal tensions. Nagpal has denied the charge.


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