On January 17 the National Green Tribunal banned mining of quartz and feldspar minerals in Nagarkurnool district in Telangana and directed the Centre to conduct Environment Impact Assessment appraisal as per EIA Notification of 2006.
The Tribunal gave the judgement on a plea filed by C Srinivasulu, a Telangana resident and others claiming non-application of mind by Telangana State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) in granting environment clearance on April 11, 2017, for quarrying of quartz and feldspar on 24 hectares to a mine leaseholder of Kalwakole village, Peddakothapally Mandal, Nagarkurnool District, Telangana.
A bench involving Justice Raghuvendra S Rathore and expert member SS Garbyal held that the mining lease area was reduced to 24 hectares from 29 hectares to escape public hearing and rigorous of EIA appraisal by the Environment Ministry in terms of EIA Notification 2006, and subsequent amendments thereunder.
They further stated “We are also convinced that the mining is currently being done very close to the Singotham lake, in fact at the edge of the lake, in absence of any safe distances imposed upon the project proponent for their mining operations. We, therefore, direct Ministry of Environment and Forests to conduct Environment Impact Assessment Appraisal in terms of EIA Notification 2006, and subsequent amendments thereunder and also to conduct a public hearing and impose whatever conditions they may find necessary and appropriate for carrying out mining operation and till then it will remain suspended.”
The mine leaseholder had argued before NGT that a buffer of 250 metres has been left from the lake boundary to lease boundary to protect the lake. He also produced a map of the lease area so as to show that the lake is to the north of mining lease whereas the mining is carried out in the south-east direction from the south face of the hillock.