A bench headed by NGT''s judicial member S P Wangdi said that ''Bihar Sand Mining Policy, 2019'' was in conformity with the directions given by the Supreme Court and the ''Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2016'' in this regard.
On applicants'' argument that while framing the policy, the state did not state the source of power under which it was published, the NGT said "this contention appears to have been made overlooking the obvious power of the State to make policies, pass orders, issue administrative rules, circulares, instructions etc. in exercise of its executive powers so long as those are not violative of the constitutional and statutory provisions."
"We find that the ''2019 Policy'' does not appear to suffer from any inadequacy or infirmity as pointed out by the applicants," the bench said.
The bench further said, "Upon consideration of the submissions, we find that the 2019 policy is in conformity with the directions of the SC and the ''Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2016''."
It also rejected applicants'' argument that restricting grant of leases only upto two to an individual in the ''2019 Policy'' was in violation of the provisions of Article 19 (1) (g) (right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business) of the Constitution of India, saying that the NGT was not the right forum to decide it.
Advocate Keshav Mohan, the additional standing counsel for the state government, opposed the applications, saying that the policy ensured that sand mining in Bihar was carried out in an environmentally sustainable manner to ensure availability of adequate quantity of sand for construction at a reasonable price and generate employment.
The applications had said, "Vide the said policy, the respondent no. 2 (...) have sought to artificially bifurcate identified units of the river in the garb of controlling exploitation imposing unreasonable restrictions in permitting one individual or entity to have only two blocks in violation of law."
The 2019 policy was brought in haste...It is urged that the 2019 policy is in direct contravention of the judgments passed by the Supreme Court and the NGT," the application had said.
It said that the 2019 policy was "in conflict with the ''Sustainable Sand Mining Guidelines, 2016" and an earlier decision of the SC as "it permitted division of river stretches in a district into contiguous blocks."
The ''Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2016'' strictly "prohibits artificial breaking of homogenous stretches of river bed for granting leases for sand mining", the application said, adding that "the policy was required to be revisited to fit into the framework of the SC order". PTI UK SJK UK TIR TIR
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI