Taking strong note of incidents of children drowning in mining pits filled with rain water, the National Green Tribunal on Monday directed the chief secretary to issue clear directions to the principal secretary (mines) and district collectors to immediately carry out inspection of all the existing mines in Madhya Pradesh.
“Recently, there have been reports of accidents of drowning of children and other persons in the mining pits which are filled with rain water. Some of these accidents are indeed very tragic. There is no safety mechanism of fencing as required under the environmental clearances and also in many cases there are no persons as watch and ward staff at such locations…,” the NGT order said.
A two-member bench comprising Justice Dalip Singh as judicial member and Satyawan Singh Garbyal as expert member, gave these directions while hearing case filed by Afsar Khan.
The case pertained to the sourcing of raw material for crushers for construction of the road from Shahdol to Annuppur district. The tribunal directed the state government to file compliance report on the next date of hearing October 20, 2016.
The tribunal gave these directions to ensure that conditions laid down in the environmental clearances pertaining to fencing of the mining areas are implemented and protective measures are immediately put in place.
On illegal mining and operations of stone crushers, NGT noted that conditions laid down in environmental clearances clearly state that the entire mining area should be fenced first before starting the mining activity.
The green panel also directed the regional officer of the Madhya Pradesh state pollution control board as well as mining officers to issue notices as to why the leases should not be revoked and the consents and environment clearances granted be not cancelled. “This is all the more important in the cases where such mines have been abandoned or have been handed over back to the state”, the NGT order said.
On Sunday, seven children, aged 10 to 14, drowned while bathing in a water-filled stone quarry near a stone-crushing site in Guna district’s Piproda Khurd village.
Many such pits are created whenever there is large-scale mining or excavation for murram or stones on the outskirts of cities and towns to feed the construction activity within the urban areas.