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National Green Tribunal takes suo motu cognizance of illegal granite mining in Kerala

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) took suo motu cognizance of illegal mining of granite from Government-owned land at Pappan Para and Subban Para in Chathurangapara Village in Idukki, Kerala. 

The petition is registered suo motu on the basis of the news item appearing in a newspaper dated 10.01.2024.

According to the report, granite worth Rs 1 crore has been illegally mined from Government-owned land at Pappan Para and Subban Para in Chathurangapara Village. 

It further states that three persons had illegally encroached upon the government land and mined large quantities of rocks. About 16,000 tonnes of illegally mined material has been seized from a vehicle. It also contains the disclosure that on the pretext of the Udumbanchola-Mundiyeruma State Highway construction, the encroachers have illegally entered the revenue land in Chathurangappara and quarried granite and transported the rocks to a crusher unit at Thankappanpara in Santhanpara Gram Panchayat and converted it into by-products and used them for construction. 

In the  preliminary inspection, 40,000 tonnes of granite has been found to be illegally mined from the land, costing around Rs 1 crore.

The news item raises a substantial issue relating to compliance of provisions of the Scheduled enactments.   

“Power of the Tribunal to take up the matter in suo-motu exercise of power has been recognized by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of “Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai vs. Ankita Sinha & Ors.” reported in 2021 SCC Online SC 897.”

Hence, the Principal Bench of Justice Prakash Shrivastava, Dr. A Senthil Vel and Dr. Afroz Ahmad  impleaded the following as respondents in the matter: 

i. Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) through its Member Secretary. 

ii. District Collector & District Magistrate, Idukki, Kuyilimala, Kerala.

On advance notice, report on behalf of KSPCB has been filed stating that during the inspection it was found that the mining operation was conducted in the area of around 50m x 30m having an average height of approximately 10m, without permission from the Pollution Control Board. The reply does not reflect any satisfactory action by the Pollution Control Board against the violators. 

The Counsel for the Respondents seek four weeks’ time to file the report disclosing the extent of illegal mining in the area concerned, persons responsible for it and the action taken against them. Therefore the NGT directed that the report be filed before the concerned bench of the Tribunal.

Since the matter relates to the Southern Zone Bench, Chennai, therefore , the Bench transferred the matter to the Southern Zone Bench for appropriate further action. Office is directed by the NGT to transfer the original record to the Southern Zone Bench and the matter is listed on 10.04.2024.

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