The first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy on hearing arguments from both sides about the TNPCB reducing the prescribed distance from 1 km to 500 metres between two stone crushers at the instance of the minister and not based on technical advice as sought from NEERI, refused to vacate the interim stay granted in this regard by another bench.
“In the meantime, the Pollution Control Board should appoint experts with expertise in environmental studies to consider the criteria that should be evolved for granting future permission for stone crushing units, including the minimum distance to be maintained etc,” the bench said posting the plea for further hearing to June 11.
The plea pending since 2019 relates to the relaxation of 1 km distance criteria to 500 metres for the existing stone crushers in Tamil Nadu. The TNPCB constituted a Technical Expert Committee on March 7, 2019, comprising officers from TNPCB, NEERI and NPC, and carried out a detailed study. It sought TNPCB to undertake a detailed scientific study through a reputed technical institution like NEERI and held that until such time the distance norms of 500 metres followed in 2004 may be continued.