NGT forms panel to inspect quarry site

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Chennai, Apr 19 (PTI) The Southern Regional Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has constituted a panel, led by Chengalpattu District Collector, to inspect a quarry site, allegedly conducting illegal operations near the Arignar Anna Zoological Park at suburban Vandalur and submit a report.

The park is popularly known as Vandalur Zoo.

The Tribunal judicial member Justice K Ramakrishnan and expert member K Sathyagopal gave this direction on April 16 while entertaining an application from C R Vijaykumar of Unamancheri in Chengalpattu district.

According to the applicant, Environmental Clearance (EC) was granted by the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) to UGC Aravind of Unamancherri village on July 18, 2013 for five years.

But Aravind had obtained the EC suppressing the fact that it was within 2.5 km from the Vandaloor Zoo and very close to the reserve forest area, the applicant said.

Further, he was now continuing with the operation, even after expiry of the EC period and had conducted mining in area other than the place permitted under the lease.

Excess mining has been done by him. On account of the unauthorized activity of continuing with the quarrying without necessary permission a lot of ecological damage has been caused and a huge amount has been lost to the exchequer as well, the applicant contended.

To ascertain the genuineness of the allegations and violations, the tribunal said it is appropriate to appoint a joint committee, comprising the local Collector or a senior Officer not below the rank of Assistant Collector/Sub Divisional Magistrate as deputed by him, a senior officer each from SEIAA, Directorate of Geology and Mining and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB).

The committee should inspect the area in question and submit a factual as well as action taken report if there was any violation found.

It should also assess the environmental compensation to be recovered from him. The Directorate of Geology and Mining will be the nodal agency for co-ordination and for providing necessary logistics for this purpose, the tribunal said and posted the matter for further hearing on May 28. PTI CORR SA BN BN