Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi, Oct 30:
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Union government not to grant any fresh permission for mining and expansion of existing mines in Odisha’s Keonjhar district in view of the danger it could pose to the local environment.
In an interim order, the NGT expressed grave concern over environmental and water pollution in the district and deaths of wild animals like elephants caused due to mining.
A three-member bench of the NGT, headed by Justice P Jyotishankar, issued the interim order while conducting a hearing on a petition filed by Rahul Kumar Agarwal alleging environmental pollution in the district due to mining activities by companies like Sirajuddin and Company, Rungta Mines Limited, Essel Mining & Industries Ltd, Tata Steel Ltd and Triveni Earthmovers.
Referring to the facts submitted by the petitioner,the NGT wanted to know from the government whether the companies operating in the district were adhering to environmental laws of the land.
The apex green court, in its interim order, has served notices to the Union Environment & Forest ministry, Central Pollution Control Board and Odisha government to file status report in the matter.
The NGT directed the five companies, which have been made parties in the case, not to discharge polluted water into the rivers and agricultural land. It also asked the five companies to follow and observe provisions of the environmental laws.
The next hearing in the case has been fixed for November 24.