Mining

Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (July 21, 2022)

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

 
By DTE Staff
Published: Thursday 21 July 2022
Down To Earth brings you top environmental cases heard in Supreme Court, high courts & National Green Tribunal

NGT asks Centre to finalise solar waste plan

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) was directed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to finalise further action in the matter of management of solar panel waste, expeditiously and preferably within two months.

Suo motu cognisance was taken by the tribunal of an article published in Down to Earth January 13, 2022 titled Times’s running out: Is India ready to handle 34,000 tonnes of Solar Waste by 2030?.

The article highlighted India’s urgent need to formulate a sound solar waste management policy to achieve the ambitious solar target of 280 gigawatts by 2030.

NGT constituted a joint committee February 14, 2022 to look into the matter and it was directed that an action plan be prepared for environmentally sound management of solar panel waste in accordance with the established norms.

The joint committee report of May 17, 2022 filed by MoEF&C informed the court that a meeting was held April 7, 2022 and a report of the Committee on Circular Economy in Solar Panels has been filed before NGT.

The report suggested an action plan with phase-wise steps to enable environmentally sound management of solar panel waste.

Illegal sand mining in Yamunanagar

NGT July 19 directed the project proponents accused of conducting illegal sand mining in villages Pobari, Kohliwala and Bailgarh in Haryana’s Yamuna Nagar district to reply to the report by monitoring committee. 

The court noted that the report filed by the Committee showed that serious violations were taking place in the course of mining and requisite safeguards were not taken as per mining plan and environmental clearance (EC) conditions. “No action appears to have been taken for fixing accountability for such violations and for compliance of norms,” the NGT said. 

The court directed the project proponents to respond to the report, if any before passing the final orders.

NGT had requested March 8, 2022 the monitoring committee headed by Justice Pritam Pal to cross-check the factual position by undertaking a visit to the site with the assistance of necessary authorities.

Gogte Minerals fined Rs 5 crore for EC violation 

The western bench, Pune of NGT directed Gogte Minerals to pay compensation of Rs 5 crore under the ‘polluter pays’ principle within three months for its mining project in Maharashtra’s Sindhudurg district. The order was in response to the violation of EC norms by the project proponent. 

A restoration plan has to be prepared by a joint Committee of the Central Pollution Control Board, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board and District Magistrate of Sindhudurg within three months of the amount being deposited / recovered and to be executed by the district magistrate, Sindhudurg, the order said.

The Maharashtra government November 6, 1971 granted mining rights to Gogte Minerals for 20 years at village Tiroda, taluka Swantwadi, district Sindhudurg (then Ratnagiri) over an 34.81 hectares. The lease was renewed April 4, 2000 for 10 more years.

MoEF&CC granted EC December 30, 2008 for mining activities according to the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006. The EC provided that out of 34.481 ha, mining would be carried out only in 12.16 ha.

However, contrary to the specified area of the dump site within the leased area and in violation of EC condition, the project proponent dumped outside the leased area.

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