Licensed quarries need not follow distance norm: HC

Kerala High Court. File

Kerala High Court. File   | Photo Credit: H. Vibhu

The Kerala High Court has ordered that quarries during their valid period of licence or lease need not fulfil the distance norm of 200 metres from residential and inhabited areas set by the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

They need to maintain only the distance norms of 50 metres as contemplated in Kerala Mineral Mineral Concession Rules, the court said.

However, the court made it clear that licence or lease of quarries whose period has expired and which did not follow the distance norms set by the NGT should not be renewed. Nor fresh licenee or lease should be granted to quarries which did not maintain the NGT set distance norm.

The court, however, ordered that fresh or renewal applications may be processed and such applications need not be rejected solely on the ground of non-fulfilment of the new distance norms stipulated by the NGT.

Justice Alexander Thomas passed the directive on a petition filed by a quarrying firm from Kozhikode seeking to restrain the Central and Kerala State Pollution Control Board (PCB) from taking any action against the petitioner for violation of the distance norm prescribed by the NGT. The petitioner challenged the NGT order prescribing a new distance norm for stone quarries.

The court suggested to the State government that an expert committee be appointed to examine the ways and means to substantially reduce the demand and consumption of granite metal, especially in the construction sector and road maintenance.

When the petition came up for hearing, the Additional Advocate General submitted that the NGT had passed the order on July 21 without hearing the State government or competent authorities under the government.

The Kerala Minor Mineral Concessions Rules, 2015, had been framed under the exclusive power given by the Mines and Mineral (Regulation and Development)Act. Besides, the tribunal did not have any jurisdiction to pass such an order. In fact, the State goverment would file a writ petition challenging the order of the NGT.

The petitioner sought quashing of the NGT order directing the Central PCB and the State PCBs to follow the criteria of maintaining 200 metres from residential/public buildings and inhabited sites while considering granting permission for stone quarrying.

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Sep 27, 2020 1:41:51 AM |

Next Story