The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on February 24 has directed a three-member committee headed by the District Magistrate to inspect alleged violations by quarry operators in Thampuran Para mountains in Thiruvananthapuram district in Kerala. The NGT bench headed by its chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel was dealing with a plea against VKL Infrastructure Facilities and VKL Projects, who were allegedly operating in violation of environmental norms.
An earlier order of District Collector had prohibited any type of mining and allied activities within a 200-meter radius of Thampuran Para and Thampuratty Para. The plea contended that the quarry activities were done in government land. Though surveying is done, no final decision is seen taken on this by the Revenue Department, it alleged. Further, the applicant, Benny Sebastian, pointed out that there are houses down the slope. The aerial distances to these houses were not considered while granting environmental clearance and allied permits. Fly rocks are a problem to these houses, the plea said.
There is no linkage of the project with the KOMPAS Portal of the Mining and Geology Department. It is also stated that the environmental clearance was erroneously granted by bifurcating one plot into two, the plea stated.
The petitioner stated that he had lodged a complaint that was directed by the Kerala High Court to be considered in an earlier order. The district senior geologist, in an order dated December 29, 2020, suspended the quarry temporarily but the said order was stayed by the appellate authority in the government.
Following the submissions, the bench in an order passed,on February 24, said, "We consider it necessary to require a joint committee comprising SEIAA, Kerala, Kerala State Pollution Control Board, and Thiruvananthapuram District Magistrate, to undertake a visit to the site, verify the compliance status and file a factual and action taken report within two months."
Further hearing in the matter is to be held on July 8.