Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Uttarakhand High Court dismisses PIL against stone crusher unit

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The Uttarakhand High Court recently dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) alleging that a stone crusher is being operated by a company contrary to the conditions laid down in the 2019 policy issued by the Uttarakhand Government.

According to petitioner Khilap Singh Bisht, in terms of the said policy, no stone crusher unit can be established within a radius of 250 metres from the limits of the river; the conditions stipulated in the 2019 policy also require no stone crusher unit to be established within 150 metres from the nearest abadi (residential area); the subject unit is located at a distance of 50-100 metres from colonies, and within a radius of less than 100 metres from the riverbed; the unit is operating without even obtaining environmental clearance from the Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board ; severe environmental damage, besides air, water and noise pollution, is being caused, by operating the unit in that area.

Vijay Bhatt, counsel appearing on behalf of the company, argued that the petition has become infructuous in view of the fact that the prayer of the petition was for the order by which company was given permission to establish stone crusher as per the policy of 2015.

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However, it is brought to the notice of the Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice S.K. Mishra and Justice R.C. Khulbe that such a permission /license was granted to the private respondent for a period of five years. After completion of the lease period of five years, the lease was again extended for a further 10 years.

Aditya Pratap Singh, the counsel for the Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board, submitted that the private respondent (Company) has a valid consent to operate issued by the Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board till March 31, 2027.

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As such, the Court observed that the petition was filed and has come to a logical conclusion and if at all, the petitioner is aggrieved by the extension of the lease period by another period of ten years, he should file an appropriate petition or PIL.

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