The National Green Tribunal, Southern Bench here on Thursday ordered notice to the Union government and the Kerala government on applications challenging the recent notification of Union Ministry of Environment and Forests for the implementation of the suggestions made by Kasturirangan panel on Western Ghats conservation.
The NGT Bench comprising its judicial member, Justice M.Chockalingam and expert member, Prof.R.Nagendran said the applications raised a substantial question concerning ecology and environment which required an enquiry by the Tribunal.
They directed the authorities, including the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), to file their replies on February 24.
M.K. Babu of Kunduthode, Kozhikode district, and others prayed the Tribunal to set aside the operation of the notification and an office memorandum of the MoEF to the extent of imposing ban over the functioning of quarry and crusher, within the territorial limits of Kerala State.
The applicants submitted that they were running the quarry and crusher units after obtaining the consent of all statutory authorities including the KSPCB.
They said they were aggrieved by the notification issued by the MoEF last November on its official website, to the extent of barring/prohibiting quarrying and stone crushing operations within 123 villages in Kerala.
The applicants contended that before submitting its report, the high-level working group (HLWG), headed by Dr.Kasturirangan, had not conducted any study on the consequential impacts of quarrying and stone crushing units.
They also argued that even though certain number of quarries and stone crusher units were functioning within 123 villages included in the notification, absolutely no damage was caused to the environment and ecology.
The applicants also added that before issuing the notification, no opportunity of being heard was provided to them as well as to those similarly affected.