Mining companies on Thursday vehemently opposed the recommendations of the Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) to earmark 600 hectares of land in the Aravalis for auctioning for the purpose of mining, saying the land in question cannot be diverted without settling individual claims.
The CEC had proposed to ban mining in the Aravalis and then earmark 600 hectares land that could be auctioned for the purposes of mining. The money generated would be used for setting up Aravali Rehabilitation Fund, the CEC said.
The proposal, however, is facing opposition from several mining companies. Appearing for Faridabad and Gurgaon Minerals, senior counsel Anil B. Divan said that 900 acres of the said land belonged to his clients and the said land cannot be auctioned without settling the individual claims.
Opposing the banning of mining activities, Divan said his clients had all the necessary clearances from the state government, Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Central Pollution Control Board.
He wondered how the CEC could suddenly talk of restoration of mines. Maintaining that there was no such provision in any statutes, Divan sought to know what the term ‘restoration of mines’ actually meant.
Earlier, amicus curiae (court’s friend) Ranjit Kumar and A.N.D. Rao urged the court to order banning of mining in the Aravalis in terms of the CEC’s report.
But the court has already made it clear that it would not pass any orders on the CEC’s recommendation. “If the Haryana Government wants to act on it, we do not have any objection,” it said.
Divan alleged that pressure groups in league with the media were trying to compel the court and the government to ban mining in the area by raising the false bogey of devastation of environment in the area.