Total Ban on Legal Mining causes huge loss to Public Exchequer

Chaini Parwani –

Published On: November 11, 2021 at 18:20 IST

The Supreme Court while reforming some directives declared by the National Green Tribunal, observed that the total ban on Legal Mining, apart from encouraging illegal mining, could also result in a huge loss to the Public Exchequer.

The Court stated that banning legal mining can lead to the exploding growth of illegal mining, resulting in battles between sand mafias, criminalization, and certainly the loss of humans too.

A Bench comprising of Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Sanjiv Khanna, and BR Gavai was hearing the case filed by the State of Bihar challenging a National Green Tribunal (NGT) Order holding that unless the State Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC) and the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) approve the District Survey Report for mining of sand, the same cannot be carried out.

The Court highlighted that a balanced approach to Sustainable Development guaranteeing

environmental safeguards needs to be resorted to.

Further, the Court noted that sand is required for the construction of public infrastructural projects as well as public and private construction activities, hence a total ban would not be appropriate.

Furthermore, the Bench, substituted the directions declared by the Tribunal with the following directions:

– The task of preparation of Demand Signal Repository (DSR) for the motive of mining in the State of Bihar in all the districts shall be handled afresh and the draft DSRs shall be prepared by the Sub Divisional Committees by undertaking site visits and also by using modern technology

– The draft DSRs shall be produced within a period of 6 weeks from the date of the Order.

– After the draft DSRs are prepared, the District Magistrate of the concerned district shall forward the same for examination and evaluation by the State Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC), which will examine the same within 6 weeks and forward it to the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) for approval.

The Bench sternly highlighted that strict adherence to the procedure and parameters laid down in the policy of January 2020 should be followed while conducting the procedure.

The Bench stated, “Until further orders, we permit the State Government to carry on mining activities through Bihar State Mining Corporation for which it may employ the services of the contractors. However, while doing so, the State Government shall ensure that all environmental concerns are taken care of and no damage is caused to the environment.” 

The case was further posted after twenty weeks.

Click here to read/download order copy

Also Read: A Judicial Overview of National Green Tribunal
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