City Reports

Supreme Court bans gravel mining in Rajasthan for lack of environmental clearance

The ban will cause home construction costs to go up in Jaipur and the rest of the state.

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February 1, 2018, 11:49 am

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Mining in Rajasthan (file photo).

Jaipur: A Supreme Court order has banned gravel (bajari) mining across the state as the leaseholders have failed to obtain environment clearance from the central government.The ban will cause home construction costs to go up in Jaipur and the rest of the state.

On Thursday, a double bench of Justice Madan Bhimrao Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta gave this interim order. The petitioner NGO during this hearing stated that the leaseholders have not received environmental clearance to date and yet the gravel mining has been going on. The court expressed displeasure and stated that it has been four years yet these firms have not acquired the clearance from the environment ministry.

In response, the leaseholders said that they have applied for an environmental clearance with the union ministry of environment and that the applications are still pending. In such a situation, they should not be held responsible for not getting environmental clearance. The court, however, ruled that it is a serious issue and gravel mining in Rajasthan without the necessary approval should not be carried out by the leaseholders.

The court dismissed all arguments against this order presented by the leaseholders. The court has also directed the Chief Secretary of the state to conduct surveys of rivers in four weeks and submit a report. The report will have to mention details of the amount of gravel that can be extracted in the present scenario.

The Supreme Court, on 25th November 2014, had given permission to 82 leaseholders to temporarily start the process of gravel mining by canceling the ban on it. This was for the ones who had applied in the Central Environment Ministry for an environmental clearance. Of the 82 such leases approved, 29 have been non-operational for many years. Seven months ago, the Mining Department had canceled these leases. A new auction process was started in which 53 blocks of gravel were being mined. Only 12 blocks out of these 53 have received an environmental clearance. The prevailing situation has forced the court to bar all such leaseholders from continuing the process.

First published: November 17, 2017