Joint committee report on the breach of mine wall of an iron ore mine located in village Kalane, taluka Dodamarg, district Sindhudurg, Maharashtra, 12/07/2023
Report of the Joint Committee in compliance with the National Green Tribunal order of September 5, 2022 in the matter of Original Application No 41/2022 (WZ), Abhay Pandurang Desai Vs State of Maharashtra & Others.
The matter related to a breach of mine wall on the southern side of iron ore mine located in village Kalane, taluka Dodamarg, district Sindhudurg, Maharashtra, which is owned and operated by M/s Minerals and Metals. It is alleged that agricultural lands were damaged as a result of breach of mine wall, due to which large quantity of water stored in the mine pits along with mine overburden flown into the downstream location of agricultural lands and houses at village Kalane.
The incidence of breach of the mine wall of the iron ore mine occurred in July 2021. The said incidence led to flow of large quantity of water stored in the mine pits along with overburden, debris, stones into the downstream location of agricultural fields and houses at village Kalane. As a result, perennial crops like cashew nut, mango, coconut, betel nut along with about 15 houses located downstream i.e. southern direction of mine was destroyed.
It was observed that "the industry has engaged in mining of iron ore without ore beneficiation. Hence, there is no scope for generation of trade effluent".
The joint committee carried-out a survey in the iron ore mine and also in the agricultural fields.
Subsequent to the incident, the industry has taken various corrective measures by scrapping and levelling old mine pits and augmenting the outer periphery of mine boundary. The industry has paid total amount of Rs. 60,70,300/- (12,30,300 + 48,40,000) as compensation for damages to the houses of 14 identified persons and damages to the agricultural lands of 49 identified villagers.
Further, based on the various corrective measures taken by the industry, Indian Bureau of Mines revoked the suspension order and Collector, Sindhudurg also issued restart order followed by conditional restarting of mining operations by MPCB. For damages of loss of agricultural land; loss of perennial crops (cashew & coconut) and loss of agricultural crop (rice) including plant productivity and damages to houses, the joint committee recommended that M/s Minerals and Metals should be directed to pay the environmental damage cost of Rs. 1,46,98,050/- (Rupees One Crore Forty Six Lakhs Ninety Eight Thousand Fifty only).
As the industry has already paid the amount of Rs 60,70,300/-, the said amount should be adjusted from the environmental damage cost of Rs 1,46,98,050. In addition to the above environmental damage cost, the industry must be directed to pay the cost for land restoration of 25,75,000/- (TwertyFive Lakhs Seventy-Five Thousand Only).
The committee recommended that the industry should carry out a detailed survey under the supervision of District Agriculture Department and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board for identification and removal of sporadic deposition of large stone/overburden materials in the affected agricultural fields.