The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal has issued an interim stay on a recent order of the Union government doing way with prior permission for mining red earth and hillocks for construction of individual houses. The decision was based on a petition filed by environmentalist Tony Thomas of Irumbakachola, near Mannarkkad, in Palakkad.
The petitioner said the order was being misused by the land lobby to demolish hillocks and remove red earth on a large scale.
In most of the cases, the exemption for construction of individual houses was being misused, he said, citing many instances in Palakkad and surrounding districts. Finding that the anxieties raised by the petitioner were valid, judge M. Chokkalingam and technical expert member P.S. Rao issued the interim stay. Detailed hearing on the case has been posted for May 19. Advocates Rajan Vishnunadh and Harish Vasudevan appeared for the petitioner.
Talking to The Hindu , Mr. Thomas said the government order was causing irreparable damage to the environment. As per the interim stay, permission in advance is required from the village officer concerned for mining red earth.
The application in this regard must contain details of the proposed use of the removed soil. Supporting evidences proving necessity of soil-mining also must be submitted.
Mr. Thomas said he would approach the district administration in the districts with copies of the order to make officials aware of the stay. He said he would continue to fight for a permanent stay on the order.