Minimum distance for quarries to remain 50 m, HC quashes 200 m

Kerala High Court | Photo: Mathrubhumi

Kochi: The Kerala High Court has quashed the order of National Green Tribunal which increased the minimum distance of quarries from residential areas to 200 metres from 50 metres. Nullifying the NGT order, justice PB Suresh Kumar directed NGT to consider the matter again after issuing notice to authorities concerned.

The HC issued the order upholding the argument of the quarry owners. They had complained that the increase in minimum distance will affect the business badly. They had also alleged that justice was denied to them as NGT issued the order without hearing them.

The High Court quashed the order of NGT Principal Bench issued on July 21 while considering over 30 petitions moved by state government and quarry owners.

Earlier, the High Court had issued an interim order directing the quarries which hold valid permit and lease documents till July 21, 2020 to operate without abiding by the distance norms of 200 metres. This order will continue until NGT issues new order.

At the same time, the HC had clarified that the NGT will have the right to revise the interim order while considering the petitions to resolve the dispute over distance norms.

The NGT had issued the order on July 21, 2020 while considering the plea of the natives against a quarry at Konnalkkadavu in Palakkad. Considering the pleas against this order, the High Court had issued an interim order.

As per the interim order, operation of new quarries which do not maintain a minimum distance of 200 metres to residential areas was not to be operational.

However, the state government argued that implementation of NGT order on distance norms will destruct the quarries in the state and affect the development.

The National Green Tribunal increased the minimum distance of quarries from residential areas to 200 metres as per the report of central pollution control board. Meanwhile, the petitioners argued that the pollution control board did not carry out a study before submitting the report. The court observed that the pollution control board also admitted to this fact.

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