SHILLONG, Jan 03: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) will decide on the matter of declaring 5 Kms from the edge of rivers, reserved forest and wildlife sanctuaries as regulated zone in its next hearing to be held on February 9.
During the hearing held on Tuesday, the NGT has taken up the miscellenous application no 1010 of 2017 which was moved by Sajay Laloo, a resident of Jowai, West Jaintia Hills District in original application no 73 of 2014 seeking directions to the state of Meghalaya to frame policy to protect rivers and carve out regulated zone along the banks of major rivers, wildlife sanctuary, reserve forest and natural cave in Meghalaya.
The NGT in its order issued has granted liberty to file replies to the application within two weeks.
“Advance copies of the replies be furnished to the applicant who may file rejoinder(s) thereto, if any, within one week from thereafter,” it stated. The next hearing has been fixed on February 9.
Earlier during the hearing, council appearing for the state of Meghalaya submits that the M.A. No. 1010 of 2017 was moved by the Applicant in Original Application No. 73 of 2014 seeking directions to State of Meghalaya to frame policy to protect river and carve out regulated zone along the banks of major rivers in the State of Meghalaya, Wildlife Sanctuary, reserve forest and natural cave, is not maintainable.
The application can only be made for consequential relief flowing from the principal relief sought in the application.
The Counsel appearing on behalf of Laloo (applicant in M.A. No. 1010 of 2017) submits that he has been impleaded to the main petition and he is seeking relief as solicited in the miscellaneous application only in relation to rat hole mining.
“In view of the statement made the application can be disposed of with the decision on the issue of the Action Plan for controlling the rat hole mining before us,” the tribunal stated in its order.
Earlier, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has informed the National Green Tribunal that a plan for restoration of the environment and ecology, particularly the protection of water body from the menace of unscientific and unregulated coal mining has been prepared and filed with the affidavit dated October 3, 2017.
The counsel appearing for the Ministry said that copies of this affidavit along with annexures shall be furnished to all the contending parties within a week.
On the other hand, the counsel appearing on behalf of State of Meghalaya submits that the State has placed on record a complete data in relation to the quantity of mined coal lying at the time of passing of the first exemption order by the Supreme Court of India through the affidavit dated October 5, 2017.
Copies of this affidavit, if not furnished earlier to the contending parties shall be supplied to them within a week.