Apex court raps State for not shifting stone-crushing units

A Bench of justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly also took a serious view of Quarry Owners Association plea seeking modification of its order on the ground that it was not feasible to implement, and imposed a similar cost of Rs 1 lakh on it.

The Bench said one cannot be allowed to surpass the court’s order. Counsel for Karnataka government Anita Shenoy and senior advocate Krishnan Venugopal, however, pleaded deleting the strong observations made against them.

The apex court had on April 8, 2010, granted one year’s time to the state government and the quarry owners to shift the crushing units to safer zones.  The Karnataka High Court had said the state government should create safe zones to be located at least 50 km from each other and at least 2  km from national and state highways and 1 km from villages, schools, rivers and temples.

It said the zone should be 4 km from district headquarters and 8 km from municipal corporation boundaries. The State government sought modification in the order stating that various technical institutions appointed for the purpose had concluded that no safe zones could be located in the State.

The high court had on July 7, 1998, issued guidelines to the State to identify safe zones for stone crushing units but the Quarry Owners’ Association, Mangalore, and Karnataka Stone Crushers’ Association challenged the order in the apex court on April 8, 2009. They failed to get any relief from it.

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