Stone quarrying: High Court refuses to vacate interim order

Published - June 25, 2024 06:49 am IST - MADURAI

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has refused to vacate an interim injunction ordered by the court earlier against stone quarrying operations in Nattalam village in Vilavancode taluk in Kanniyakumari district.

The court was hearing a petition filed by V. Paulraj of Mullanginavilai Post in Kanniyakumari district, who complained about indiscriminate stone quarrying in the district in violation of the terms and conditions of the quarrying licence.

A Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice R. Mahadevan and Justice G.R. Swaminathan observed that pursuant to the directions of the court, an inspection and a drone survey were conducted and the report filed by the authorities confirmed that there had been illegal quarrying.

The Tamil Nadu Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 1959, governs the field. If the leaseholder commits any violation of the lease terms and conditions or indulges in illicit quarrying, the mechanism has been provided to deal with the same. The Collector is the authority competent to pass an order, the court observed.

The court directed the Kanniyakumari Collector to issue notices to the parties on the basis of materials available before the court. It is for the Collector to take a call in the matter, the court observed.

Earlier, the court had granted an interim injunction against the stone quarrying operations. The inspection report also confirmed the allegation of illicit quarrying, the court observed and said “We would, therefore, not be justified in vacating the interim order earlier granted and the same is made absolute.”

The petitioner had complained that the operators blasted stones, ignoring the regulations. This caused noise and air pollution. The quarrying operations and transportation of materials were going on day and night. It affected not only the health of the people but also the agricultural activities in the region, he said.

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