Panaji: The Goa River Sand Protection Network, a cell of Goa Foundation today filed contempt petition before Bombay High Court at Goa against government authorities for failing to implement its order dated December 18, 2019, with regards to action in illegal sand mining cases.
The petitioner has claimed that despite the directions given in the said judgement, the illegal extraction of sand from Goa’s rivers has continued unabated, and in some places, it has increased.
The contempt petition has been filed against Director Mines Ashutosh Apte, Captain James Braganza, Inspector General of Police Jaspal Singh and Director of transport Rajan Satardekar.
Petitioner states that though the judgement was issued on 18.12.2019, no action was taken by the four authorities to implement the directions issued in the judgement.
The petitioner said that the directions are not being enforced. Not a single boat has been confiscated, nor truck. Not a single FIR has been filed though in each area, dozens of persons are involved. Persons owning land on which the illegally extracted sand is stacked are not charged for being in receipt of stolen goods. The scenario is bizarre.
“There has been no fear of the authorities, who are obviously in collusion. Now it appears that there is no fear of this Hon’ble Court as well. Hence this contempt petition, with a prayer for some urgent interim directions.,” the petitioner said.
The court through its judgment last month had ordered State government to prosecute all those who are caught in illegal sand mining activities under Indian Penal Code.
he bench said that it is quite disturbed to note that in most cases of illegal sand mining, the trucks and canoes that are confiscated by the government agencies, were released after imposing paltry fines.
“All this according to us is quite illegal and will only further encourage illegal extraction of sand and gravel from the riverbeds and river banks. Such person, only factor the fines and penalties into the final price and continue to profit in the illegal business of extraction of sand and gravel,” Court had said.
” State should launch prosecution against those, found to be illegally extracting sand and other natural resources. For this purpose, the First Information Report (FIR) should be filed by invoking the appropriate provisions of the IPC and such prosecutions should be pursued with all seriousness and taken to its logical conclusion,” the order stated.
“State should not just rest only with prosecution under the MMDR act or the Goa Minor Minerals Concession Rules, 1985, since they find that most of these prosecutions, end up with levy of paltry penalties and fines upon those indulging in illegal extraction of sand and gravel,” it added.