Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (August 30, 2019)

Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal   

By DTE Staff
Published: Friday 30 August 2019

Encroachments in Bharatpur

Enkasa Mines and Minerals Pvt Ltd is illegally transporting mined materials through forest in Bharatpur district's Ghoghor village, Rajasthan, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) was told on August 29, 2019.

The miners have constructed a road in the forest land without due permission from the Forest Department and several complaints have been lodged with the department, stated an application.

Besides, the road originally constructed for the villagers have been encroached upon by the miners.

The chief conservator of Forest, Bharatpur informed the NGT that even though they had removed the encroachment and diversion of the roads, they are finding it difficult to take further action “in view of lack of sufficient manpower and unmatched illegal force” of the miners.

The tribunal directed the district magistrate, the conservator of forest and police to assist the forest department officials in removing the illegal encroachment wherever it is done and file a compliance report within four weeks.

Compensatory afforestation

The Supreme Court on August 26 directed the secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and chief secretary of Andaman and Nicobar Islands to find alternatives to provide compensatory aforestation to farmers from Andaman and Nicobar Island.

The Indian Ocean Tsunami, which hit the islands in 2004 tsunami, had washed away lands of many farmers. The Additional Solicitor General ANS Nadkarni had, previously, informed the apex court that there was hardly any land available for compensatory aforestation as 87 per cent of the land mass has already been declared as a natural notified forest.

The SC has asked the authorities to submit a report within six weeks.

Rohtang highway tunnel

The SC on August 26 granted conditional permission for diversion of 2.17 hectares of forest land in Himachal Pradesh, so that Paras Stone Crusher can supply stones/ boulders for Rohtang Highway tunnel.

The tunnel, a project of national importance, is expected to be complete by December 2019.

“The permission granted shall be co-terminus with the completion of the project by December, 2019,” said the order.

In the case of any violation, the officers of the state and the contractor would be held responsible.

Cap on three-wheelers in Delhi

The SC on August 26 directed the transport department of Delhi and the EPCA or Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority to submit documents to support the lifting restrictions on the number of three-wheelers plying in the national capital. 

The cap was fixed in 2011. Keeping in mind the environment aspect, the report will explain how many vehicles should be permitted to ply in Delhi, if the cap is lifted.

EPCA would be assisted by the transport department for information on details of vehicles.

Bajaj Auto had, in 2018, filed an application seeking removal of restriction on the number of three-wheelers registered in Delhi, claiming that they now are BSIV compliant and running on CNG.

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