SC gets strict with illegal river sand miners
The Supreme Court has ordered prosecution under the Indian Penal Code for those found mining sand from river banks and beds without a valid licence. The order was given following a conflicting judgment passed by the High Courts regarding the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act. While referring to the UNEP Global Environment Alert Service Report, the Court has shown serious concern over the ecological damage done to rivers through sand mining.
SC wants details on steps taken to protect wetlands
The Supreme Court has issued notice to the Centre and concerned states over the protection of 36 'priority wetlands'. It has asked the latter to submit within four weeks, details of steps taken to protect these wetlands. The order has come following a petition filed by M. K. Balakrishnan regarding the demarcation of priority areas and wetlands. The Court has also ordered the Centre to give information regarding the formation of the Central Wetlands Regulatory Authority under the 2010 Wetland Conservation Rules.
Jharkhand Government orders closure of 12 iron ore mines
Following the Supreme Court orders, the Jharkhand Government has directed the closure of 12 iron ore mines in West Singhum District. Tata Steel, Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) and Orissa Manganese and Minerals Private Ltd were operating these 12 leased mines without renewing their mining licenses for the past few years. The closure has led to panic among major steel makers in the region along with the loss of livelihood for hundreds of tribal miners.
Many hurdles to the proposed Vizhinjam Port Project
The Supreme Court refuses to stay the National Green Tribunal's application that has challenged the environmental clearance and Coastal Zone Regulation (CRZ) clearance of the proposed Vizhinjam Port Project. The Kerala Government has appealed to the court against the Tribunal's order. Againt the Court's decision, the Environment Ministry has given its justification regarding the clearance of the project and has asked the former to dismiss the NGT's order.
NGT seeks Centre's clarification on fresh survey of Western Ghats
The National Green Tribunal has ordered the Environment Ministry to respond on whether the concerned States have been notified to carry out a fresh survey on the identification of eco-sensitive areas in the Western Ghats. The Tribunal has shown doubts on both the Gadgil report as well as the Kasturirangan report on the Western Ghats. It has also called the Ministry 'messy', as it has been changing its stands on the issue every day.
This is a weekly roundup of policy matters from September 9-14, 2014. Also read last week's news roundup.