NGT sets environmental clearances of quarries aside
As per the complaint, the owner had also failed to disclose the presence of Karikili Bird Sanctuary at 12 kilometers from the site.
CHENNAI: The southern bench of National Green Tribunal has set environmental clearances given to stone quarries in Kancheepuram and Tirunelveli aside citing lack of thorough study by Tamil Nadu State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), on Thursday.
In one of the cases, Arjun Gopalaratnam, a retired army officer and resident of Nerkundram village near Salavakkam in Kancheepuram, now indulged in organic farming and residing at a distance of 600 meters from the quarry site filed a case against the issuance of environmental clearance.
He alleged that the quarry owner had provided false information to receive the clearance. He added the owner stated Edamachi reserve forest as a social forest and provided false data on groundwater table apart from omitting the location of Edamachi Lake, which is situated less than 50 meters from the quarry site.
As per the complaint, the owner had also failed to disclose the presence of Karikili Bird Sanctuary at 12 kilometers from the site. There was no Environmental Impact Assessment done on the true facts. The State Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC) had accepted the submission of the owner without verifying the truthfulness and recommended for clearance and the SEIAA granted the clearance without making independent assessment, the applicant said.
Hearing the sides, the Tribunal observed that the SEAC should have inspected the property to find out whether there was any water body much less when it is located within 50 meters. The owner in his counter has not stated anything about the existence of the Edamachi lake which is the main objection of the applicant.
While setting the clearance aside, the Tribunal directed the SEIAA to reconsider and assess the application afresh again without being influenced by the order.
In another similar case, the NGT set aside the environmental clearance given to a quarry in Radhapuram taluk in Tirunelveli district.
While setting aside the cleance, the Tribunal noted that a seasonal odai which is passing through the site is bound to get affected due to quarrying activities and distance between two quarries is not maintained as mandated.