No mining near the Sariska Tiger reserve without environmental clearance
For the Sariska sanctuary in Rajasthan, the state government has proposed that the area covered by a distance of 100 metres from the boundary of the sanctuary should be treated as the eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) i.e. the area that need to be protected from industrial pollution and unregulated constructions under the Environment Protection Act of 1986. As per the 2002 decision of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), an area of 10 km from the boundaries of the sanctuary was to be created as a protected areas as eco-sensitive zone (ESZ). Such an ESZ was proposed to create a buffer zone around them which was opposed by many state governments. Subsequently, the MoEF asked the states to examine the ESZs on a case by case basis and take a decision.
Hearing a petition filed by by Khayali Ram Chattiram, a resident of Alwar, the National Green Tribunal has directed that without the requisite environmental clearance, no person / company shall be allowed to carry out stone quarrying or mining near the Sariska Tiger reserve in Rajasthan. Chattiram had claimed that 85 illegal stone quarrying units are working within 10 km radius of the sanctuary, some of which are adjacent to the boundary wall of the sanctuary. He alleged that stone blasting is being carried out which poses a threat to wildlife and ecology of the area. Notices have been issued by the NGT to all the 85 quarries mentioned in Chattiram's petition to respond to the allegations.
Chattiram relied on data obtained through use of Right to Information (RTI) which revealed that Rajasthan Pollution Control Board had given the consent to operate (CTO) to only two units. Further, reply to another RTI application revealed that the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) has not given any environmental clearance to any of the quarries as mandated under the EIA notification 2006. all mines of less than 5 ha are required to obtain a clearance from SEIAA as per the said notification.