Top
Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
Top Stories

Supreme Court Issues Notice To Centre, States On Plea Against Mining in Densely-Forested, Eco-Sensitive Areas

Mehal Jain
14 Dec 2020 11:16 AM GMT
Supreme Court Issues Notice To Centre, States On Plea Against Mining in Densely-Forested, Eco-Sensitive Areas
x

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to various States and the Union on a PIL against mining in densely- forested and eco-sensitive areas of the country.The petition by was heard by a bench led by the Chief Justice S. A. Bobde by Sudeip Shrivastava through advocate Prashant Bhushan.The plea challenges the Union of India's decision to allot different coal blocks by way of auction...

Your free access to Live Law has expired
To read the article, get a premium account.
    Your Subscription Supports Independent Journalism
Subscription starts from
599+GST
(For 6 Months)
Premium account gives you:
  • Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.
  • Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.
Already a subscriber?

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to various States and the Union on a PIL against mining in densely- forested and eco-sensitive areas of the country.

The petition by was heard by a bench led by the Chief Justice S. A. Bobde by Sudeip Shrivastava through advocate Prashant Bhushan.

The plea challenges the Union of India's decision to allot different coal blocks by way of auction and allotment, situated in densely forested areas of the different states whereas less forested coal blocks are available in abundance. It is alleged that the said act is being done in contravention of the principles of the sustainable development and the precautionary principle since only 15% of the Indian coal deposit lies beneath the densely forested areas and the remaining 85% can fulfill even the enhanced demand of the coal for the coming 50 to 70 years.

"The use of coal world over is going to be less year by year as renewable energy like solar is now economically viable. India being a signatory of the Paris climate change agreement also has an obligation to reduce/control its carbon footprint. Combustion of coal itself is the main source of carbon dioxide emission and if the same would be done by cutting dense forest which are the main sink of CO2 then it would have sort of quadrupled impact on the environment. The allotment of other major mineral deposits as well is being done in routine manner without classifying the same in different categories on the basis of environmental value and exploiting the less damaging one at the first instance and saving the pristine area that is compromising the environmental security of the nation", it is submitted.

It is pointed out that many of coal and other mineral deposits lie beneath the dense forest which are the catchment of central Indian rivers and mining in the said area would affect the water security adversely. "A study conducted by the FSI had concluded that mining in many coal block would adversely affect the rivers and rivulets", it advanced.

"The situation in the case of forest clearance under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 for non-forest diversion is more grave", it is argued, indicating that the Forest Conservation Rule 7(2)(c) requires the state government or other authority to certify that it has considered all other alternatives and no other alternatives in the circumstances are feasible and that the required area is the minimum needed for the purpose.

"The MMDR Act 1957 in its section 18(1) obligates the Union of India for conservation and systematic development of minerals and ensure environment conservation as well", it is urged.

The plea submits that the Coal Mines Nationalisation Act of 1973, in its section 3A(2) mandates that the central government, in order to rationalise coal mining so as to ensure the coordinated and scientific development and utilisation of coal resources consistent with the growing requirements of the country, shall from time-to-time prescribe the coal mines or coal bearing areas and the location and the minimum size of the coal mine or coal bearing areas and other other conditions as it may deem fit.

"At present, the allocation of mineral blocks is being done in contravention of the aforesaid provisions and this leads to massive environment depletion compromising the future generation needs of the natural resources", it is pressed.

The petitioner has approached the Supreme Court seeking inter alia deallocation of all coal block situated in the densely forested areas which were categorised as 'NO-GO' in 2010.

Besides, he seeks a direction to the Union of India for proper inventory of coal and all other major mineral deposits on the basis of their environmental value and for the same, the exercise of the Violate and Inviolate Area identification and subsequent notification of the same as ESA zone be completed in a time bound manner.

The petition also seeks a direction by which no mineral blocks should be allotted or auctioned without prior forest and environmental clearance. "A guideline is required to be framed for consideration of the forest and environment in these cases like any other development projects where alternatives were required to be studied in terms of rule 7(2)(c) of the Forest Conservation Rules and EIA notification 2006", it is sought.



Next Story
Share it