CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Tuesday restrained the state government from finalising tenders that were floated for mining of black granite in Dharmapuri district.
The court in its interim order said that the Tamil Nadu government has failed to assess whether such a project is necessary and its environmental impact.
The two-member bench of justices MM Sundresh and R Hemalatha passed the directions on the plea filed by former DMK MP Thamaraiselvan.
Despite several conditions imposed by the central government over the awarding of the tender as well as providing mining clearances in the state, the state did not follow any of the rules, stated the petitioner. The petitioner sought an interim stay on the entire tender process.
Senior Counsel R Viduthalai appearing for the petitioner submitted that calling for such a tender without prior environmental clearances is against the guidelines issued by the Central Government under Section 20A of The Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act 1957.
Advocate General Vijay Narayan appearing for the government submitted that there is no rule that a tender has to be awarded after seeking environmental clearance.
There are several procedures to be followed before finalising the maximum bidder and it is only the qualified bidder of the tender that will carry out all the necessary processes including the obtaining of environmental clearance, he said.
All the rules prior to calling for the tender were followed and there was nothing illegal as stated by the petitioner and hence the plea should be dismissed, he added.
However, the division bench recording the government submissions observed that the government should have first carried out a proper survey of the entire locality for holding mining activities.
The bench further added that the assessment should have been done in a way to evaluate whether the project was necessary along with the environmental impact.
The court ordering a stay against confirming the auction also said that a detailed hearing of the case is required and adjourned the plea to October 8.