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Extraction of minerals from 208 out of 224 blocks goes unabated without environmental clearance, mining plan
SC, NGT guidelines on environment openly flouted in JK
11/21/2019 10:49:17 PM
Akshay Azad
Early Times Report
Jammu, Nov 21: The environment as well as eco-system of Jammu and Kashmir is under serious threat as the extraction of minerals from 208 out of total 224 minor mineral blocks, has been going on without any environmental clearance as well as without any mining plan.
These startling revelations came to fore in a communiqué forwarded by Jammu and Kashmir State Pollution Control Board (JKSPCB) to the Director Geology and Mining Department Jammu vide communiqué number SPCBNGT/60/019/134-37 dated 12/11/2019. The letter was forwarded by SPCB to G&MD in response to their DGC/s response number 427/MCC/DGM/NGT/19/2096-97 dated 21/10/2019.
The communiqué has pointed towards grave violations of environmental norms in mining of minerals as out of total 554 minor mineral blocks, no block is fully complaint with the laws government environmental protection on one count or the other as none is consented by SPCB while as only 15 minor mineral blocks have environmental clearance.
It further reads, the extraction from 224 minor mineral blocks has been permitted by Geology and Mining department, in violation of law as none of the blocks is consented by SPCB under Section 25 and 21 of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 respectively.
The successful bidders have been carrying out the mining operations in absence of mining plan, thereby permission by G&MD is not only in brazen violation of laws governing the environmental protection but highly detrimental for ecosystem and environment as no scientific method in absence of approved mining plan is adopted for extraction of minor minerals, it reads, adding the interim arrangements made under communication number IND/Legal/27/2013-II dated 15/4/2019 for extraction of minor minerals can no way to substitute to statutory requirements.
The SPCB has made it clear to the G&MD to stop auctioning of the minor minerals blocks which are not consented by the SPCB or have no prior Environmental Clearance of the site. "Rescind the permits approved/ordered forthwith granted to the successful bidders which do not have environmental clearance and consent of the SPCB or either of the two", it reads, adding, "Ensure no extraction of minor minerals from today (12th of November) is done in the state in defiance of laws governing environmental protection as the mining activity has been going on in violation of NGT and Supreme Court guidelines.
The concluding remarks made it clear that if G&MD would fail to comply with the directions, it would become liable for prosecution as well as Environmental Compensation on the basis of "Polluter Pays' Principle" in light of National Green Tribunal (NGT) directions and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) guidelines.
Director Geology and Mining Farooq Ahmad Khan said that the department has already taken up the matter with the administrative wing. A meeting on environmental related issues is scheduled to be held on 25th of November, which will be attended by Chief Secretary as well as officials from Geology and Mining, Pollution Control Board and other departments, he said, adding that the said issue was also scheduled to be discussed and whatever would be the decision of the meeting, same would be followed.
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