SC asks Centre, states to respond to plea on mining

A signboard is seen outside the premises of Supreme Court in New Delhi, India. (Reuters Photo)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre, CBI and five states to respond to a plea seeking investigation into illegal sand mining cases and the termination of the lease for causing damage to the environment and adversely impacting the natural ecological system of the adjoining areas.

S A Bobde and B R Gavai the bench of justices initially asked petitioner, M Alagarsamy to approach the high court with his grievance, but subsequently issued notices to the Centre, CBI and states Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Prashant Bhushan said that "environmental havoc" is created due to illegal sand mining and the authorities concerned have allowed entities to carry out mining without mandatory environmental plan and clearance.

In his plea filed through advocate Pranav Sachdeva, the petitioner contended, "Due to the lack of implementation of guidelines by the states, various sand mining scams have taken place across different parts of the country."

The petitioner said that there should be direction to the authorities that no environmental clearance would be accorded to any sand mining project without proper environmental impact assessment (EIA), Environmental Management Plan (EMP) and public consultation as per the EIA notification of 2006.

The plea also sought a direction that all existing sand mining lease-holders be asked to submit for EIA, EMP, public consultation as per the 2006 notification and no mining would be allowed until the requisite environmental clearance is obtained after the due process.

The plea alleged that non-implementation of sustainable sand mining practices and lack of an effective policy to curb illegal and indiscriminate sand mining activities have led to the rampant growth of "such illegal, indiscriminate and excessive sand mining activities in the country."

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