New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has asked five mineral-rich states to survey all the asbestos and associated mineral mines and file a report stating the impact of overburden or waste lying at these mines and pits.
A bench headed by judicial member U D Salvi observed that it is a matter of concern that asbestos and associated mineral mines have not been closed scientifically.
"In the instant case none of the mines both asbestos and associated minerals have been closed scientifically. Final mining closure plans have also not been submitted by concerned lessees. This can be a matter of concern," the bench said.
"We therefore, direct the respective states to cause the survey of all the asbestos mines as well as of associated minerals with asbestos and state before us the impact of overburden lying at the said mines and the pits existing there as of today, and if the overburden and such pits are noted then what the state proposes to do about restoration and restitution of the said area," the tribunal said.
Overburden also called waste or spoil is the material that lies above an area that is removed during surface mining and may be used to restore an exhausted mining site.
The green panel had on March 26, directed the governments of Odisha, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Jharkhand governments to file a report on scientific closure of the asbestos mines and the instances of asbestosis (a lung disease resulting from the inhalation of asbestos particles) in their states.
During the hearing, counsel appearing for the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) said there is no asbestos mining currently operational anywhere in the country and the operations of the mines of associated minerals with asbestos has also been halted.