June 24, 2024 08:28 (IST)
Follow us:
facebook-white sharing button
twitter-white sharing button
instagram-white sharing button
youtube-white sharing button
Shooting at a grocery store in USA leaves three people dead, 10 hurt | Sheikh Hasina, Narendra Modi engage in bilateral talks | As Chandrababu Naidu's new govt demolishes YSRCP office citing illegality, Jagan Reddy cries 'vendetta politics' | Centre notifies stringent anti-paper leak law amid exam mess, accused to face jail term, fine up to a crore | Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole alleges cracks on Atal Setu, BJP hits back
SC grants time to Centre to explain how commercial mining wouldn't harm environment
Coal Block Auction

SC grants time to Centre to explain how commercial mining wouldn't harm environment

| @indiablooms | 05 Nov 2020, 01:37 am

New Delhi/IBNS: The Supreme Court on Wednesday extended the deadline for submission of a report detailing the impact of commercial mining on the environment in a case filed by the Jharkhand government.

The Jharkhand government in two different suits have questioned the virtual auction process of 41 coal blocks for commercial mining, and accused the Centre of unilaterally auctioning them without consulting the states, the owner of mines and minerals situated within their territory.

Referring to the Fifth Schedule, it said out of the nine coal blocks in Jharkhand, six blocks - Chakla, Seregarha, North Dhadu, Chitarpur, Rajhara North, and Urma Paharitola –up for auction, fall within the Schedule Fifth areas.

The Jharkhand government has maintained that the unilateral decision of the Centre, to auction the coal blocks impinges the rights of the tribal population which lives in the scheduled area.

A bench headed by Justice S A Bobde on September 30 had directed the Central government to send a team of experts to determine if the coal blocks in question fall in an eco-sensitive area, and file an affidavit in this regard within a week.

The bench expressed the court's intention to form an expert committee to determine the ecological impact of the commercial coal mining project, said media reports.

“...we want to satisfy our conscience on the environment. Make everything available to the committee from state and center and let the committee take a call within a month. You either don't take a decision for a month or we stay it," the bench said, reported Mint.

Attorney General KK Venugopal, representing the Centre, opposed the stay stressing that the stay would impact the bidding process across the country, and sought time to submit the report clarifying the animal corridors would not be disturbed by the mining process, said a Mint report.

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who is also appearing for Jharkhand government, contended that the petitioner’s affidavit clearly states that the elephant corridor and all animal corridors are within a radius of 20 kms in all the seven areas where commercial coal mining will be carried out. The eco-sensitive zone of the elephant corridor is just 19 kms away, he added.

Singhvi asked how the court would reverse commercial mining if the process was allowed once, stressing that both the core area and the buffer area were important.

"The whole problem arises since governments don't put economic value to a forest. We don't want to stop the development of the country but will not lead to erosion of the natural resources. You attach economic value to timber but not the forest. The distance of 70, 79 or 20 kms seems dangerously close," the bench said while adjourning the case for Friday, reported Mint.

The Jharkhand government filed a case in June last accusing the Centre of conducting commercial mining at this time of Covid-19 pandemic  when all the resources of the state and the Centre are to work in coordination to "alleviate the problems of citizens" caused due to the deadly virus.

The auction of 41 coal blocks is expected to attract an investment of Rs 33,000 crore, as private miners will share the revenues with the government. There will be no restriction on the sale and utilisation of coal mined from these blocks.

Support Our Journalism

We cannot do without you.. your contribution supports unbiased journalism

IBNS is not driven by any ism- not wokeism, not racism, not skewed secularism, not hyper right-wing or left liberal ideals, nor by any hardline religious beliefs or hyper nationalism. We want to serve you good old objective news, as they are. We do not judge or preach. We let people decide for themselves. We only try to present factual and well-sourced news.

Support objective journalism for a small contribution.