SEIAA under cloud over green clearance for quarrying

The SEIAA chief said that the nod was given after it was appraised by SEAC

Published: 06th June 2016 04:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th June 2016 04:04 AM   |  A+A-

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) has come under the scanner for giving clearance for quarrying activities in Mookunnimala allegedly without getting appraised by the State level Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC).

Though highly-placed SEAC sources said that no appraisal or recommendation was given for environment clearance at Mookunnimala, SEIAA chairman K P Joy claimed that the clearance was given after it was appraised by SEAC.

“We have their recommendation. We have all the reports and details from SEAC with regard to  mookunnimala mining,” he said.  SEAC officials maintained that no recommendation to this effect was mentioned in their report.

In the appraisal committee, no decision was taken for giving any clearance. “If SEAC gives any appraisal, it would be clearly cited in the report that the mentioned matter has been appraised and recommended. But with regard to quarrying in Mookunnimala, SEAC has not given any such recommendation,” inside sources said.  In the report to SEIAA, they said that they had asked for a comprehensive mining plan  as the owners who had sought the license had not submitted a detailed plan. In their plan, the government lands were excluded. “We have asked them to submit a mining plan, including the details of the government land,” they said.

Apart from this, the report also mentioned about the High Court order regarding assigned land in the region and also about the action take by the District Collector’s in the region.  All these does not mean that SEAC has given the recommendation,” the officials said.

The clearance given by SEIAA has raised doubts about a nexus between quarry mafia and the officials. It is alleged that the environment clearance was given despite several cases pending before the High Court and the Green tribunal.

Earlier also, the nod for environment clearance had kicked up a controversy with the SEIAA stating that the sanction was given under the ruse that no ban was imposed by the district administration for mining activities in the area.

However, the district administration said that it had not given any clearance for quarrying in the area.  Now, the environment clearance has been given in violation of all these laws that restrict any other activity in the land.

Earlier this year, the District Collector had banned quarrying in the hill.

However, quarrying continued unabated in the region despite the ban. It was alleged that the district, revenue and police officials were silent on several complaints against the quarries.


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