Centre’s response sought on curbs on illegal mining
New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Centre and others on a public suit seeking directions to curb illegal sand mining and for ensuring implementation of sustainable sand mining guidelines in the country.
A bench headed by Justice S.A. Bobde also asked the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ministry of Mines, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the states of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh to file responses to the public interest litigation filed by advocate and social activist M. Alagarsamy.
Appearing for the petitioner, counsels Prashant Bhushan, Pranav Sachdeva and Abhishek Prasad told the bench that there were a number of legislations, rules and regulations which empower state governments to frame rules to prevent illegal mining, transportation and storage.
In the plea, the petitioner said that governments had violated the direction passed by the court that mining lease and environmental clearance should only be given to those entities who have an approved mining plan from the competent authority in accordance with the regulations framed for sustainable mining.
The petitioner also said that "unscientific mining has caused degradation of land, accompanied by subsidence and consequential mine fires and disturbance of the water table leading to topographic disorder, severe ecological imbalance and damage to land use patterns in and around mining regions".
The petitioner also said that due to the lack of implementation of guidelines by the states, various sand mining scams had taken place across the country.
Therefore, he sought direction to the CBI to register and investigate these scams.
He also requested the top court to issue direction that no Environment Clearance (EC) would be accorded to any sand mining project without a proper Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Environmental Management Plan (EMP) and Public Consultation, and appraisal as per the EIA Notification 2006.
He sought direction to all existing sand mining lease-holders to submit to the EIA, EMP and public consultation as per the EIA Notification 2006.
He requested the court to direct that no mining would be allowed until the requisite environment clearance after due process was obtained.
He also sought to bring into force the Minor Minerals Conservation and Development Rules, 2010 and to make the existence of an approved Mining Plan under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act.