NGT quashes environmental clearance to stone quarry at Edamachi in Kancheepuram for misrepresenting facts

An organic farmer of Nerkundram village moved the NGT stating the presence of Edamachi lake does not even find a mention in the application submitted by the quarry operator

Updated - August 08, 2023 04:31 pm IST

Published - July 22, 2023 06:37 pm IST - CHENNAI

The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has set aside environmental clearance granted to a rough stone quarry at Edamachi village in Kancheepuram district for suppressing facts about its proximity to eco-sensitive areas such as a lake and a reserve forest.

Arjun Gopalaratnam, an organic farmer of Nerkundram village, had filed an appeal in the tribunal alleging that the quarry owner had misrepresented details in his application to the State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) stating that the Edamachi reserve forest, adjacent to the mining site, was a social forest. Further, it was said that the presence of Edamachi lake, third largest in the district that supports irrigation in five villages, did not even find a mention in the application.

In a series of hearings and based on the response filed by the State Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC), a body that assists the SEIAA in clearances, the NGT said the SEAC should have inspected the property to find out whether there was any waterbody and it ought not to have issued clearance when the project site is on an agricultural land around a lake and close to a reserve forest.

The tribunal said the SEAC had not considered aspects such as dust pollution and impact on groundwater. “This seems to be yet another classic case of SEAC and SEIAA clearing the projects for issuance of environmental clearance in a mechanical manner with non-application of mind,” the Bench comprising Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana and expert member Satyagopal Korlapati said in the final order.

Setting aside the clearance, the Bench directed the SEIAA to reassess the quarry application again without being influenced by this order and take appropriate decision within three months.

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