Friday, February 18, 2011

‘Stop mining in 1 km area around forests’ HC Directs Govt To Take Immediate Action

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat high court has directed the state government to stop all mining activities within one km area from the boundary of all 34 sanctuaries, national parks and conservation reserves in the state. This court order is applicable even if the mining is being undertaken by companies which have a noobjection certificate.
The high court told the government to ensure implementation of this order — which is on the lines of a 2006 directive by the Supreme Court — by Friday. The court also directed the government to file an action taken report by February 24. The report is to be drawn up by the state department of forests and environment.
For proper implementation of the norm, the state government has been asked by Justice RR Tripathi to form a high power committee of the principal secretaries of the industries and mines department, forests and environment department and revenue department.
The issue emerged during a hearing on a petition filed by Param Udhyog, demanding permission for mining. The high court came to know about a government resolution passed on April 2, 2008, stating that after obtaining due NOC, mining activity would be permitted even in the prohibited five-kilometre zone from the boundary of reserve forest or sanctuary. In case of Narayan Sarovar Chinkara Sanctuary, the limit was extended to 10 kilometre. However, an affidavit filed by the government made it clear that though it is a policy decision, the government will give NOC in case to case basis.
Advocate for the petitioner, Amit Panchal, highlighted that the state government’s resolution of 2008 was contradicting the 2006 SC orders. The state government assured the high court that it would amend the GR to the effect that mining or industrial activity in the one-kilometre zone would be completely prohibited. Following this assurance, the HC asked the government to stop all mining activities.

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