The bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar was informed that the state mining department has registered nine FIRs against 18 individuals who were carrying out illegal and indiscriminate mining of sand in Gautam Budh Nagar district.
    
The tribunal issued notices to all the 18 individuals directing them to be present on the next date of hearing, show cause as to why they should not be punished and pay compensation for damaging and degrading the environment by interfering with the river flow through their illegal activities.
    
The bench also directed all states and Union territories to formulate a uniform policy for checking illegal mining of sand and removal of sand across the country.
    
Observing that the assistance of Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) would be material in framing such a policy, the bench directed the MoEF to place before it complete and comprehensive guidelines for controlling and preventing illegal and indiscriminate mining on river beds.
    
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government was also directed to submit an action taken report regarding a submission made by senior advocate Raj Panjwani, appearing for the petitioner-NGT Bar Association, that of the over two lakh cubic meter of sand seized by the mining department till date, 80 percent has been stolen.
    
This submission was admitted by the state authorities which said that an FIR regarding the same had already been registered with police on August 13-14.
    
Now, the Uttar Pradesh government has to inform the bench about the action taken in the matter till date and how far the investigation into the theft case has progressed.

(Agencies)

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