EC granted for mining of minor minerals in district Budgam, Jammu & Kashmir set aside by the NGT, 28/09/2022

  • 28/09/2022

Judgment of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Raza Muzaffar Bhat Vs State Environment Impact Assessment Authority, Jammu & Kashmir & Others dated 28/09/2022.

An application was filed before the National Green Tribunal challenging environmental clearances (EC), April 19, 2022 granted by the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority, Jammu & Kashmir in favour of M/s. NKC Projects Pvt. Ltd.

Three ECs granted to the project proponent were the following:

1. River Bed Minor Mineral in Block No. 1, Dreigam Bridge Downstream Shaliganga Nallah, Tehsil Khansahib, District-Budgam (permitted mining area - 1.52 ha)

2. M/s. NKC Projects Pvt. Ltd., Block 2, Banderpora Upstream Shaliganga Nallah, District Budgam (permitted mining area - 1.29 ha)

3. Minor Mineral Block 4, Panzam Bridge to Trumbi Bagh (Lalgam) Downstream Shaliganga Nallah, District Budgam (permitted mining area - 2.90 ha)

The date of EC for the above three was April 19, 2022.

The statutory procedure has not been followed by SEIAA, J&K while granting prior EC, "in letter and spirit though the provisions are mandatory particularly having direct impact upon environment," the NGT said.

Counsel appearing for PP argued that mining activities only upto one meter depth was allowed and it takes care of absence of district survey report (DSR) and replenishment study but when questioned, could not show any provision where under if mining for one meter depth is allowed, in such a case requirement of preparation of DSR or replenishment study can be dispensed with. Specific conditions of EC with regard to prohibition of use of heavy machines has been violated by PP.

The NGT directed that the EC's dated April 19, 2022 be set aside. The project proponent has been asked to restrain from carrying on any mining activities pursuant to impugned ECs. J&K PCB and District Magistrate Budgam shall ensure compliance of this direction. J&K PCB shall also comply with the directions issued above with regard to determination of environmental compensation.