NGT seeks reply in illegal mining case by Sept 6

NGT seeks reply in illegal mining case by Sept 6

The National Green Tribunal's (NGT) Pune bench has asked the respondents in a case of illegal mining in Rampuri village, located about 20 kms from Aurangabad, to submit their replies at least 10 days prior to the date of next hearing, which is scheduled on September 16

On July 4, an application was filed in the NGT by Ajanta International Vipassana Samiti and some farmers demanding environmental protection in the vicinity of Rampuri which was disturbed by illegal stone crushing. The green tribunal had issued notices to Popatlal Chordiya, Krishna Bankar, the Maharashtra Government, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), Aurangabad district collector and the Aurangabad deputy director of directorate of Geology and Mining. They were directed to remain present in the next hearing, which was held on August 9. The respondents then sought more time to file their responses, to which The NGT bench comprising justices Jawad Rahim and Ajay Deshpande stated: "Taking note of the submissions of respondents, who are represented, we grant all of them four weeks time from now with direction that they must furnish copy of their respective counters on the applicant at least, 10 days prior to the date of hearing fixed to enable the applicant to file rejoinder, if any."

The applicants, Ajanta International Vipassana Samiti and five farmers from Rampuri village, took help of advocate Asim Sarode to raise the serious issue of illegal mining, which they argued violated laws and rules related to environmental protection such as the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. The applicants argued that Chordiya and Bankar, without obtaining any permission or licence from any of the competent authorities, started the illegal stone-crushing unit.

The petitioners further argued that the illegal mining in Rampuri was causing air and noise pollution, thus disturbing the peace and calm of the Vipassana centre, which is located adjacent to the mine. Heavy machineries like compressor, drilling, earth moving machine and blasting operation are being carried out causing noise pollution, said the applicant.

The farmers stated that air pollution caused due to dust particles from the mine is affecting their crop and consequently their income. "The dust generated by the stone crusher industry is not only limited to causing health hazards to people in the vicinity and causing adverse effects on agriculture, but it also is detrimental to the bio-Diversity to some extent," said advocate Sarode.

The applicants had used Right to Information Act (RTI) to obtain information about the legal status of the mine from office of Aurangabad district collector, the deputy director, Directorate of Geology & Mining, regional office MPCB Aurangabad and Environment and Forest Department, Aurangabad. The RTI revealed that no permission was granted to anybody for mining stones or excavation of stones at the said location.

On August 9, the NGT bench of justices Jawad Rahim and Ajay Deshpande, stated: "Taking note of the submissions of respondents, who are represented, we grant all of them four weeks time from now with direction that they must furnish copy of their respective counters on the applicant at least, 10 days prior to the date of hearing fixed to enable the applicant to file rejoinder, if any."

Vipassana is one of India's most ancient techniques of meditation. It was rediscovered by Gautam Buddha more than 2500 years ago and was taught by him as a universal remedy for universal ills - an Art of Living. This non-sectarian technique aims for total eradication of mental impurities and the resultant highest happiness of full liberation. Vipassana can be used to develop a healthy mind. It is actually a mental training. Therefore, for going to the stage of Vipassana Meditation silence is very important. Even a slight noise can break concentration and disturb the disciples. In the hall of meditation, no one is allowed to talk with each other. However, with stone crushing activities in nearby area, all the process of Vipassana has got disturbed, said the applicants in the petition.


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