NGT directs inspection of stone crushers in Rajouri

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, July 1: National Green Tribunal has issued directions for inspection of stone crushers by a joint committee of the Central Pollution Control Board, J&K Pollution Control Board and District Magistrate, which are operating allegedly in violation of environmental norms in Rajouri.
The direction has been passed in an application filed by Arti Sharma (Sarpanch) mentioning that M/s Diamond Stone Crusher and M/s Shankar Stone Crusher at Saranoo are operating in violation of environmental norms.
“These stone crushers are located close to residential area and Tawi River. Illegal bore-wells have been dug for extraction of ground water. Requisite Environmental Clearance has not been taken. Illegal mining is also done on the bank of Tawi River, using heavy machinery”, the complainant said, adding “this is resulting in lowering of the water level, water scarcity, decreasing agriculture productivity, loss of biodiversity, land degradation, soil erosion, unproductive waste lands, noise pollution, dust pollution, water pollution, loss of habitat of flora and fauna”.
“Though the J&K PCB has issued guidelines for the safeguards to be employed by the stone crushers, the same are neither followed nor monitored”, the complainant said, adding “these stone crushers have potential for huge pollution and unscientific mining for such stone crushers further degrades the environment”.
Observing that statutory safeguards under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 are required to be followed and monitored by the statutory regulators, the National Green Tribunal said, “there is need to take preventive and remedial action including recovery of compensation on ‘Polluter Pays’ principle for the past violations till illegal activities are stopped”.
Accordingly, the NGT has issued directions for inspection of stone crushers by a joint Committee of CPCB, J&K PCB and District Magistrate Rajouri to ascertain the extent of non-compliances.
“Based on such verification, the statutory regulators may take action to prevent further damage to the environment and assess and recover compensation for the past violations. The compensation may cover not only the cost of mined material but also the cost of restoration and ecological services forgone forever, with element of deterrence”, the NGT said.
“Factual and action taken report in the matter may be furnished to the Tribunal before the next date”, reads the order, the copy of which is available with EXCELSIOR.