Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 14
The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre and seven states, including Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh, on a PIL against allowing mining in dense forest and ecologically sensitive areas (NO-GO Zones) across India.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde asked them to respond to the PIL filed by advocate Sudiep Shrivastava that also sought framing of guidelines to deal with ‘Forest Clearance’ proposals to avoid clearance in dense forest areas unless all the other available deposits of the said mineral were exhausted.
Those needed to respond to the PIL are: the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Department of Coal, Department of Steel and Mines, and states of Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Telangana.
The petition alleged that despite there being sufficient information and reports which classify less forested or non-eco-sensitive areas as probable mining areas, the Centre was allowing mining in every area where mineral deposits exist.
“The use of coal worldwide is going to be less year by year as renewable energy like solar is now economically viable. India being a signatory of the Paris climate change agreement also has an obligation to reduce/control its carbon footprint,” read the petition.
“Combustion of coal itself is the main source of carbon dioxide emission and if the same would be done by cutting dense forest which is the main sink of CO2 then it would have a sort of quadrupled impact on the environment,” the petitioner contended.
“The allotment of other major mineral deposits as well is being done in routine manner without classifying the same in different categories on the basis of environmental value and exploiting the less damaging one at the first instance and saving the pristine area that is compromising the environmental security of the nation,” Shrivastava submitted.
As a result, areas where environmental damage would be least due to mining are not being considered and 100 per cent dense forest which are catchment of important rivers are made available for mining, the petitioner alleged.