Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal
Illegal and excess quarrying
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) October 19, 2020, directed that there must be an institutional framework and enforcement mechanism to prevent illegal and excess mining in Madhya Pradesh.
The Bench of Judge Sheo Kumar Singh and Expert Member Satyawan Singh Garbyal also said the state should ensure that mining took place without any adverse impact on the environment.
The order was passed in respect to an application filed with the NGT on illegal mining in the area of Lidhorahat Ghat Badtua in Sagar district.
The NGT said that the Environmental Clearance issued for mining of sand should contain some mandatory conditions like:
i) The licensee must use minimum number of poclains. It should not be more than two at the project site
ii) The district administration should assess the site for environmental impact at the end of the first year to permit the continuation of the operation
iii) The annual replenishment report certified by the authorised agency must be submitted to the prescribed authority. In case the replenishment is low, the mining activity / production levels should accordingly be decreased / stopped
iv) The ultimate working depth should be one metre from the present natural river bed level and the thickness of the sand available must be more than three metres at the proposed quarry site
v) The quarrying of sand must not be carried out below the ground water table under any circumstances. In case, the ground water table occurs within the permitted depth at one metre, the quarrying operation should be stopped immediately
vi) The sand mining should not disturb the turbidity, velocity and flow pattern of the river water in any way
vii) The mining activity should be monitored by the taluka level force once in a month by conducting physical verification
viii) After the mining has ended, the licensee must immediately remove all the sheds put up in the quarry and all the equipment used for sand quarrying. The roads / pathways have to be levelled to let the river resume its normal course without any artificial obstruction to the extent possible
ix) The mined out pits should be backfilled where warranted and the area has to be suitably landscaped to prevent environmental degradation
Baner garbage processing plant
The Sus Road Baner Vikas Manch filed its written submission on the garbage processing plant at Survey No. 48, Baner, Pune, operated by the Noble Exchange Environment Solutions Pvt Ltd (NEX), Pune.
The plant is located on a hillock and the machinery is installed by NEX on the slope of the hillock. The machinery is placed in such a way that the odour from the plant spreads over the entire area as it flows with the direction of the wind.
The land on which the plant stands was initially reserved for a bio diversity park, according to the sanctioned development plan. The authorities changed the reservation without holding any public hearing and without the consent of the residents residing near the plant.
The plant does not possess consent to operate. It operates after having obtained authorisation from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board. There are 11 buildings located within 200 metres of it, including upcoming constructions. The plant is located at a distance of 16 km from the Pune International Airport.
NEX did not obtain any no objection certificate from the Airports Authority of India before the commencement of the plant. This act was in breach of the Municipal Solid Waste Rules 2016.
Sand mining in Harda
The NGT October 20 directed the constitution of a Joint Committee to look into the matter of illegal sand mining in Harda district of Madhya Pradesh.
The Committee comprising of the district mining officer and Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB) officials has been directed to visit the place and submit a factual and action taken report within a period of six weeks. The MPPCB would be the nodal agency for coordination and logistics support.
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