Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding illegal mining and failure to close mines after the operation, Goa, 03/04/2019

  • 03/04/2019

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Goa Paryavaran Savrakshan Sangharsh Samitee Vs The Deputy Collector/SDM, Pernem & Others dated 03/04/2019 regarding illegal mining and failure to close mines after the operation in the Taluka of Pernem and other Talukas of the State of Goa. It has been alleged that the miners have made several pits with a view to excavate basalt/masonary and rubble stones. After the extraction, the excavated area is left without scientific closure which is necessary for restoration of environment.

The revised report filed by the Director of Mines states that the mining leases are subject to environmental clearance and consent under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 (Air Act) and the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 (Water Act) by the Pollution Control Board. Raids were conducted to stop illegal laterite stone quarries. But the Department has no mandate with reference to scientific closure of quarries under the Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 1985. Such power is with the Collector under the Goa Land Revenue Code. The Dy. Collector has submitted that proceedings have been initiated under the Land Revenue Code and the Land Revenue Rules against the offending parties for restoration of the land to the original use and a compliance report will be furnished in due course of time.

NGT directs State of Goa to take remedial actions including framing of appropriate policy/guidelines and Manual of Standard Operating Procedure. The State of Goa may also undertake training programme for its officers for upholding the Environmental Rule of Law in the State. As regards filling of pits and restoration of the environment, Advocate General has suggested a tentative timeline of six months and stated that quarterly reports will be furnished to the Tribunal about the progress in the matter.