Principal bench of National Green Tribunal has directed the Kerala State Pollution Control Board to revisit the Environmental Clearances (EC) granted to a stone quarry, operating 50 meters from public road and residential area in Palakkad district.
A bench led by Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel while hearing a petition filled by M Haridasan and others had called for a report from State PCB and District Magistrate, Palakkad District in reference to the allegation that there was an illegal operation of stone quarries and crushers without requisite safeguards at Kizhakkancherry II village. It is alleged that it is adversely affecting the environment and flora and fauna of the area.
The report submitted said that the quarry has not started operation but the location being beyond 50 mtrs. from residence and public road, EC has been granted by the DEIAA subject to certain conditions.
To which the bench said "We find that the environmental norms require assessment of impact of such activities and mere distance of 50 meters by itself is not enough to dispense with such norms. In absence of any study, any stone quarry near the residence and public road is bound to cause air and noise pollution, even beyond 50 meters."
The bench reminded the pollution board about the observations made in judgments passed by the Supreme Court in M.C. Mehta v. Union of India and Mohammed Haroon Ansari v. District Collector, Ranga Reddy District."In granting EC, this consideration has to be kept in mind in view of the fact that clean and safe environment is a part of right to life," it said.
The bench said that the Central Pollution Control Board may give its view in the matter to the State PCB within two weeks in light of available expert studies on the subject. The State PCB may furnish its action taken report in the matter by e-mail at judicial- firstname.lastname@example.org before the next date. The case is posted for further hearing on December 18.