Mining ban stays if miners don't cooperate: SC
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said that unless the private miners co-operated in the reclamation and rehabilitation of the devastated mines in Aravalli ranges of Faridabad and Gurgaon district of Haryana, the ban on mining in the area would continue.
The apex court's forest bench of Chief Justice SH Kapadia, Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Swatanter Kumar said that if miners do not co-operate (in the rehabilitation of mines devastated by reckless mining), then the ban will continue.
The court's stand came when amicus curiae Ranjit Kumar told the court that miners were not willing to co-operate in the rehabilitation of the devastated mines and restoring the ecology of the area.
Noting that the miners were bound under the lease to contribute in the restoration of the mines, Ranjit Kumar told the court that till date, not one miner has approached the apex court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) on environmental matters with their reclamation and rehabilitation plans.
When senior counsel KK Venugopal, appearing for one of the miners, said that they have got a report prepared by an institution dealing with mines, the court said that in Lafarge case, it has decided that it won't accept a report from a private institution.
The court said that names of experts to carry out the study would be suggested by Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati and the cost would be borne by the miners.
The court was holding a hearing on the CEC's report.
The court was told that effort should be to first reclaim and rehabilitate the area which was degraded and destroyed by illegal and uncontrolled mining. Ranjit Kumar told the court that there should be blanket ban on mining activities till the existing mines are rehabilitated.
As Haryana sought the court's nod for starting mining activity on 600 hectares of land in Aravalli ranges, Venugopal said that no such permission could be given to the state government as 170 hectares of land was under lease and remaining land was under plantation and could not be released for mining.
Senior counsel Gopal Subramanium, who appeared for Haryana, said that there can be no reclamation of the mines as in geological activities, no one can go back to the original position. He said that these mines could only be rehabilitated by planting trees.
The court then adjourned the matter, giving an opportunity to the private miners to sit with state representatives before the CEC to formulate a rehabilitation plan for the mines.