SHILLONG, Jan 27: A Single Bench of the Meghlaya High Court today, has allowed traditiol excavation and transportation of limestone and sandstone in the State.
Today’s judgment came after one Balios Swer filed a writ petition challenging the June 30, 2015 order of a division bench of the Meghalaya High Court which had disallowed granting of any licence or to enter into a lease deed for extraction of minerals without-consultation with the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) set up by the Supreme Court.
According to the High Court the earlier directions of the court in judgment and order dated June 30, 2015 shall be prospective.
“The respondents, more particularly respondents No. 2 and 3, (The Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, HoFF, Meghalaya, Shillong and the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (T), Meghalaya, Shillong.), shall allow the petitioner and other similarly situated persons, who were continuing on traditiol excavation and transportation of limestone and sandstone at the time of passing of the judgment and order dated 30.06.2015, to continue the traditiol excavation and transportation of limestone and sandstone under the Acts, Rules and By-laws in the State of Meghalaya,” the Single Bench of the High Court said.
However, the court said that for grant of any new mining lease (excluding traditiol excavation and transportation of limestone and sandstone), the state authority should seek clearance from the State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SLEIAA) instead of CEC as directed in the said judgment and order of the Court dated November 26 last year.
It may be mentioned that last year, the Meghalaya High Court had banned mining activities in the state after hearing a petition related to collection of compensatory fee from trucks transporting coal and limestone for reclamation of un-classed forest which falls under the jurisdiction of Garo Hills Autonomous District Council.
The judgment said, “Except in cases where licence for extraction of minerals has already been granted or lease deed has already been entered into in accordance with the directions of the Supreme Court in the judgments referred to, all other mining activities shall have to stop.”
The judgment said the state shall not grant any licence or enter into a lease deed for extraction of minerals without consultation with the central empowered committee constituted by the apex court, drawing a comprehensive scheme and creating a fund for reclamation in the interest of sustaible development and inter-generatiol equity, and for the purpose of rectifying the damage caused to forest and environment.