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HC directs govt to form squads to curb illegal sand mining

Panjim: Criticising the State government for not making functional the patrolling-cum-flying squad to monitor and control sand mining in Goa, the High Court of Bombay at Goa on Monday directed the government to immediately form an enforcement squad to curb illegal sand mining.

The HC also warned the government that if the flying squad doesn’t become functional soon, it will stop sand mining in the State.

The Court also directed Captain of Ports (CoP) and Coastal Security Police working boats as soon as possible to be used by the patrolling and flying squad

The HC had earlier directed the State government to file an affidavit on the ecological impact of sand extraction on the river ecosystem in the State.

“We are informed that the sand mining season would commence from 1 October 2018. We expect that the regulatory mechanism in the form of enforcement squad with functional boats and complaint forum is established forthwith, to avoid any restraint order,” the court order said.

The HC also highlighted that the enforcement squad was created for Pernem, Bardez, Tiswadi, Bicholim, Sattari and Ponda talukas on 22 August 2013, but it is non-functional and that there is no functional boat.

“It is obvious that the State will not be able to curb the illegal sand mining if it does not have an enforcement mechanism in the form of Patrolling Squad. The State also has not set any help line or a complaint platform to receive any information regarding illegal sand mining. In such a state of affairs, how it will deter illegal sand mining is difficult to discern,” the court said. [H]

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