‘Sub­mit de­tailed re­port on min­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in State’

High Court wants units op­er­at­ing with­out en­vi­ron­men­tal clear­ance to be shut

The Hindu - - TAMIL NADU - Staff Re­porter

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Thurs­day di­rected the In­dus­tries Sec­re­tary to file a com­pre­hen­sive re­port be­fore the court by col­lect­ing details from all Dis­trict Col­lec­tors with re­gard to the on­go­ing min­ing ac­tiv­i­ties through­out the State.

A divi­sion bench of Jus­tices K. Kalyana­sun­daram and V. Bha­vani Sub­baroyan di­rected the depart­ment to as­cer­tain whether the en­vi­ron­ment clear­ance and the Coastal Reg­u­la­tory Zone clear­ance were ob­tained for the min­ing ac­tiv­i­ties across wa­ter beds and to is­sue or­ders to stop min­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in those mines that had failed to ob­tain the clear­ance, within four weeks.

The court, hear­ing the ap­peal of the Dis­trict Col­lec­tor, Kan­niyaku­mari, set aside a sin­gle bench or­der which had ear­lier al­lowed In­dian Rare Earths Ltd, Kan­niyaku­mari, to trans­port sand al­ready col­lected in the mines and the fin­ished prod­uct from the fac­tory.

In­dian Rare Earths Ltd, a com­pany un­der the ad­min­is­tra­tive con­trol of the Depart­ment of Atomic En­ergy, had been en­gaged in min­ing atomic min­er­als and beach min­er­als in Kan­niyaku­mari.

The court ob­served that the ap­pli­ca­tions filed for clear­ance were pend­ing be­fore the au­thor­i­ties and the fail­ure to dis­pose the ap­pli­ca­tions did not give the min­ers any right to get them­selves in­volved in min­ing ac­tiv­i­ties with­out ob­tain­ing the en­vi­ron­ment clear­ance.

The court ques­tioned as to how 50,000 met­ric tonnes of raw sand and 7,500 met­ric tonnes of fin­ished prod­uct could be claimed to have been mined legally by the min­ers, who, in their counter filed be­fore the court, had said they were yet to get the en­vi­ron­ment and Coastal Reg­u­la­tion Zone clear­ance.

The court re­fused to ac­cept the con­tention that not per­mit­ting the trans­port of sand would im­pact the liveli­hood of the peo­ple in­volved and de­vel­op­ment ac­tiv­i­ties.

The court ob­served that per­mit­ting min­ing with­out clear­ance would en­dan­ger the marine habi­tat and would lead to en­vi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion.

The court fur­ther ob­served that sand min­ing had posed a threat to bio-di­ver­sity and led to en­vi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion.

A. MURALITHARAN ■

Run­ning afoul of law: The court asked how 50,000 met­ric tonnes of sand could have been mined legally, when the nec­es­sary clearances were yet to be given.

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