Observing that since the real estate industry is intricately associated with stone-crushing units, the usual lawlessness that prevails in the real estate market also prevails in the stone-crushing industry, the Madras High Court on Monday refused to vacate the interim stay imposed on the functioning of all new crusher units until the government obtains necessary expert advice on the distance that ought to be maintained between two crushing units.
The first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy was passing orders on a plea which accused Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) of having acted contrary to the NEERI recommendations, which had made a recommendation in 2004 that the minimum distance between a stone crushing unit and the next ought to be one kilometre. TNPCB while dispensing with the distance norm in 2019 had also extended the facility to existing stone-crushers and M-sand units.
However, the bench led by the Chief Justice on pointing out that the stone-crushing units which appear to be mushrooming all over the State and flattening any rock or hill in view., said: “It has been noticed in other matters that licences are obtained over limited territories and the operations expand far and beyond the territorial limits in double quick time with officials who ought to protect and preserve the resources of the State turning Nelson’s eye to such activities for obvious extraneous considerations.”
Based on TNPCB’s request that it will seek expert opinion and the future course of action on stone-crushing units will be strictly per expert opinion, the bench posted the case for further hearing to September 20. The TNPCB also informed the court that given the subsisting interim order, no new stone-crushing unit has been made functional with the modified norms.