BHOPAL: Central Bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered an inquiry against a village sarpanch and chairman of zilla panchayat (ZP) for illegal sand mining on Monday here.

The NGT ordered the inquiry while disposing of a petition filed by Santosh Bharti in 2016 against State of Madhya Pradesh and three others regarding illegal sand mining in Damoh district.

“Sarpanch of Barkhera Kalar village under Hatta tehsil of Damoh district, Inderjit Patel and chairperson of Damoh zilla panchayat, Shivcharan Patel were accused of illegal mining and threatening and stopping forest department officers who went to check the illegal sand mining in the area. The court after ordering an inquiry under section 353 of IPC which leads to assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty said that if found guilty, then an action should be initiated against them and they both should be removed from their respective positions,” said counsel to respondents, Sachin Verma while speaking to Free Press.He also told Free Press that the tribunal had asked officers concerned to assess the damage done to the environment due to illegal mining in the area and submit a report of the same by May 25. “The tribunal has also ordered the sarpanch and the chairperson to deposit Rs 9.25 lakh which was the market price of the sand hoarded by both from illegal mining, within the next 15 days.