The National Green Tribunal has sought response from the Divisional Commissioner, Allahabad, after a committee headed by the officer failed to submit a report on the alleged illegal sand mining in the area.A Bench, headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, said, “The committee was to furnish a report which has not been furnished. Issue notice to the Divisional Commissioner, Allahabad, as to why penal action be not taken for non-compliance of orders of this Tribunal.”The officer has been directed to be present before the Tribunal on January 22.In September last year, the green panel had directed constitution of a committee to be headed by the officer and sought a report on the allegations of illegal mining. Petitioner Atul Singh Chauhan had challenged the ongoing sand mining in the Yamuna riverbed in Allahabad without the requisite environmental clearance.
Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal on Monday questioned the Election Commission of India’s decision to conduct elections in the State in four phases. Previously, the polls were being held in the State in two phases. Addressing a press conference here, party spokesperson Amar Patnaik alleged that the ECI had been influenced by the BJP which is trying to occupy the non-BJP States.While polling will be held in one phase in several other States, including Gujarat, having more number of seats than Odisha, the ECI prepared the poll schedule in multiple phases in the States where the BJP is weak, Mr. Patnaik said. Not only Odisha, but several non-BJP ruled States have been made a victim of the Centre’s conspiracy, he charged.Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik claimed that his party will perform “very well” in the upcoming simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. The list of the party candidates will be finalised soon, he added.Polling for the 21 Lok Sabha and 147 Assembly seats in the State is scheduled to be held in four phases on April 11, 18, 23 and 29.‘Centre’s apathy’ On Monday, the BJD launched a ‘Haq Maguchhi Odisha’ (Odisha seeks its due) campaign alleging Centre’s apathy towards the State.Thousands of activists of the party’s youth and students’ wings took out a rally in Bhubaneswar seeking replies from the Centre to a series of questions.“Even as the mineral and natural resources-rich Odisha is playing a key role in the development of the country, the Centre has been neglecting the State for political reasons. The Centre has been deceiving Odisha people in exchange of high revenue earning from the State,” the party alleged.The protesters targeted the Centre over lack of political will to grant special category status to the State, to solve the Mahanadi water-sharing dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh, non-revision of coal royalty and poor service by banks and the BSNL.