NGT halts tree cutting for diamond mine project in MP

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Bhopal, Jul 1 (PTI) The National Green Tribunal's Bhopal bench has directed the Madhya Pradesh government to ensure that no tree is cut without the forest department's clearance at Buxawaha in Chhatarpur district for diamond mining, according to an interim order made available on Thursday.

Besides, the bench of NGT, comprising judicial member Justice Sheo Kumar Singh and expert member Kumar Verma, has directed the applicant in the case to provide a copy of the plea and relevant document to the respondents, as per the June 26 order uploaded on the NGT website in the evening.

A resident of Jabalpur and a lawyer have filed petitions in the NGT Bhopal opposing the diamond mine project in Buxawaha on environmental grounds. Both petitions relate to one case in which the central and Madhya Pradesh governments and a private mining company have been made respondents.

'Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Madhya Pradesh shall ensure that there should not be any cutting of trees without forest clearance,” the order read.

“The applicant is directed to provide the copy of the application and relevant document to the respondents. The respondents may file their reply, affidavit within four weeks by email preferably in the form of Image PDF, OCR support PDF and not in from of Image PDF,” the bench said.

The petition has contended that the proposed project will harm the environment of the area and grant of mining lease by the state government in 2019 was in violation of laws.

“The issue raised in this application is grant of mining lease over 364 hectares area in Buxawaha protected forest area, Sogoriya village, Buxawaha Tehsil, Chhatarpur district in MP to Essels Mining Industries Limited, vide a letter of intent issued by the MP government dated 19.12.2019, resulting in environmental damage in violation of environment laws,' the bench said.

The petition has claimed the project will destroy about 4 lakh trees and adversely impact thousands of tribals living in the forest.

“Learned counsel appearing for the applicant argued that if the project in question of open mining of diamond by way of cutting the lakhs of trees and deforestation is continued, it may adversely affect and cause deforestation, elimination of about 4 lakh trees, and thousands of tribal living in this forest will be pushed into poverty,” the NGT said.

'Learned counsel appearing for the respondent number 4 (Essels Mining Industries Ltd) has submitted that they had filed affidavit just yesterday evening but that is not available on record,' the bench said. PTI LAL MAS RSY RSY

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