Green panel finds mining, pollution norms violation in Jharkhand
The panel is in Jharkhand on the NGT directive following a petition filed by advocate-cum-activist Satya Prakash
A six-member experts’ committee constituted by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) found ‘shocking’ facts during a study of the environmental impact on wildlife sanctuaries and rural life due to mining of minor minerals in Hazaribag and Koderma districts.
The committee members, stationed in Jharkhand since Monday, found several irregularities - right from illegal mining to blatant violation of pollution norms - during an inspection of the two districts. The team wrapped up its inspection in Koderma on Thursday.
The members, who visited Jainagar, Domchach, Kharkhar and Sirsurwa forest range on the concluding day, found violation of pollution norms at several locations, local sources said.
They also visited Chanchaal and were shocked to see more than 16 stone quarry units engaged in destroying a mountain, known as Chanchaal hill, in Koderma district.
Koderma district mining officer (DMO) Rajaram Prasad said the panel members queried at to why mining and stone quarry units were permitted in such an area. “They asked if mine owners secured forest and environment clearance from the departments concerned. We said they were not illegal as they have been operating for last three decades with forest clearance.”
The experts, however, said neither land lease nor environmental clearance could be permitted for such an area.
The panel members also visited Lokai based bluestone mining area in Koderma and found illegal transportation of bluestone on bicycles. They also did not find any fencing in areas marked for mining and stone quarry units in the district, sources said.
Earlier, the NGT team had visited Hazaribag district on Tuesday and held a meeting with the officials.
Divisional forest officer (DFO), wildlife, Hazaribag, Dilip Yadav said the team members sought details of work done by the task force constituted to check illegal mining. “The members also held a meeting with stakeholders such as owner of crusher units and later conducted a field visit,” he said.
The experts also visited other mining sites like Ichak and Barkatha. “They did not find illegal mining, but raised the issue of pollution and transportation norms violation by mine lease owners,” said Hazaribag district mining officer Nitesh Gupta. He claimed the panel also visited Hazaribag wildlife sanctuary but did not find anything objectionable there.
The panel is in Jharkhand on the NGT directive following a petition filed by advocate-cum-activist Satya Prakash. The NGT on January 29 constituted the panel and ordered to enquire about the illegal mining in two Jharkhand districts.
“My sources in two districts said that the NGT panel found shocking facts during its inspection. They were surprised seeing extent of illegal mining and gross violation of environmental norms in operating the stone quarry units during its inspection,” Prakash said.