The Madras High Court has rejected a plea from a person for licence to quarry rough stone and gravel in his patta land situated very close to a gasifier crematorium.
Justice D Hariparanthaman rejected the plea after holding that the area in question should be termed as ‘inhabited site’ in view of the approval accorded by the authorities for construction of the gasifier crematorium, which was within 300 metres.
The judge was dismissing a writ petition from S Sivananthavadivel, challenging the order of the Tiruppur District Collector, rejecting his application for quarry licence.
Originally, Dhanvanth Blue Metals was granted licence for quarrying rough stone and gravel in its patta land measuring 3.57 hectars in Vellakovil village for five years from September 2006. After the expiry, petitioner applied for renewal of licence in September 2011. In the meantime, the government issued a GO sanctioning funds for construction of a gasifier crematorium in the area. The Municipal Administration Commissioner granted administrative sanction and allotted Rs 42.85 lakh for the construction of the crematorium. The Vellakovil municipality also passed a resolution to this effect.
While so, on a petition from the petitioner, the court directed the authorities to consider his representation on merits. Subsequent to the order, the District Collector rejected the application on the ground that the crematorium was being constructed within the prohibited distance of the quarry site and the Municipality Chairman and Councilors opposed granting licence.
Petitioner submitted that as per Rule 36 (1-A) of the TN Minor Mineral Concession Rules, there was a prohibition for operation of a quarry only if the inhabited site was within 300 metres. The crematorium could not be termed as ‘inhabited site’, petitioner said.
The judge pointed out that the report of the joint inspection committee, constituted pursuant to the direction of the court, made it clear that the entire construction relating to crematorium almost came into existence. “In view of the approval accorded by the authorities for the construction of RCC roof gasifier crematorium, I have no hesitation to hold that the crematorium shall be termed as inhabited site,” the judge said. It was not in dispute that if it was inhabited site, then there should not be any mining activities within 300 meters. The crematorium was within 300 metres of the quarry site. Hence, there was no infirmity in the order passed by the Collector, the judge said, and dismissed the petition.