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Ministry's clearance for garnet sand mining legal: Madras HC

Our Legal Correspondent

Chennai , Dec. 21

The Madras High Court has held that when a firm has been engaged in garnet sand mining in Tirunelveli district for the past two decades after obtaining requisite permission from both Central and Tamil Nadu Governments, it was not open to any person to come to this Court and put spokes on mining activity.

Dismissing a petition questioning the legality of environmental clearance granted to VV Minerals of Tisayan Vilali on April 3, 2006 by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, the First Bench comprising Chief Justice, Mr A.P. Shah and Mr Justice K. Chandru said that there was no infirmity in clearance given and public interest was completely safeguarded by the stand taken by the Centre and the Tamil Nadu Government, Environment & Forests Department.

According to the petitioner, Mr Thyagi S. Ponniah Pillai, the clearance given was in violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification, which stipulated that the clearance would result in adverse impact on the coastline. This Court had, in some earlier cases too, not accepted the contention of petitioners that garnet sand mining would create any pollution hazard. Also, in the present area of operation, a number of mining leases had been granted. The petitioner had not produced any material in support of his contention that the mining lease granted by the Ministry of Environment was illegal. In fact, the CRZ notification, 1991 granted exemption for mining of sand, rocks and other minerals.

In the light of the above, the writ petition failed and same shall stand dismissed.

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