Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, October 28:
The Odisha High Court has asked the collectors of three districts to stop all stone quarrying and mining activities in biodiversity zones and cancel the lease granted to individuals in such areas.
A division bench of the court, comprising Chief Justice Amitava Roy and Justice AK Rath, issued notice to the collectors of Baleswar, Mayurbhanj and Jajpur districts while hearing a PIL filed by Bholanath Rout and others on Monday.
The petitioners had alleged that while the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), in its guidelines, has clearly mentioned that there cannot be any construction work within the five km radius of any sanctuary, national park and sensitive biodiversity zones, the state government has leased out land in areas within the biodiversity zones for non-forest purposes.
The petitioners had also pointed out that the lease holders have been carrying out illegal blasting in the stone quarries developed by them in these areas without prior permission of the state Environment and Forest department and the Odisha State Pollution Control Board.
Stating that these illegal activities have adversely affected the ecology, flora and fauna in these biodiversity zones, the petitioners had prayed the High Court for its early intervention in the matter.