National Green Tribunal takes suo motu cognisance of illegal quarrying, mining in East Khasi Hills

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) took Suo Motu cognizance of the issue of illegal quarrying and mining in various parts of the East Khasi Hills district.

The Petition is registered suo-moto on the basis of the news item appearing in the daily newspaper dated 06.01.2024.

The news item reveals that there is rampant illegal quarrying and mining particularly on hill slopes and removal of sand from river beds in various parts of the East Khasi Hills district, specifically in Sohiong, Mawblei and Umphymai and these activities have severely affected the water sources in the surrounding and adjoining areas. 

As per the said news item East Khasi Hills district magistrate has issued an order under section 144 CrPC restraining illegal mining and quarrying in the hill slopes and removal of sand from the river beds by any person, company, authority etc. without obtaining a mining license/quarry permit.  

The news item raises substantial issue relating to compliance of environmental norms.  

“Power of the Tribunal to take up the matter in suo-motu exercise of power has been recognized by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of “Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai vs. Ankita Sinha & Ors.” reported in 2021 SCC Online SC 897.”

Hence,  the Principal Bench of Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Dr. A Senthil Vel impleaded the following as respondents in the matter: 

(i) Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board, through its Member Secretary 

(ii) Deputy Commissioner/District Magistrate, East Khasi Hills, Meghalaya 

(iii) State of Meghalaya, through Principal Secretary, Forests and Environment Department, Meghalaya  

Since the matter relates to the Eastern Zonal Bench, Kolkata , therefore , the Bench transferred the matter to the  Eastern Zonal Bench for appropriate further action. Office is directed by the NGT to transfer the original record to the  Eastern Zonal Bench  and the matter is listed on 02.04.2024.

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