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SC Orders Makrana Marble Quarry Owners, Rajasthan Govt to Pay for Diverting Railway Tracks

Mining will resume in the 63 quarries in view of the apex court’s approval for diverting the railway track from mineral area of Makarana–Parbatsar to a non-mineral area of Makrana-Bidiyad.

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Updated:January 5, 2018, 11:37 AM IST
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SC Orders Makrana Marble Quarry Owners, Rajasthan Govt to Pay for Diverting Railway Tracks
Representative image (PTI)
New Delhi: With marble quarry owners agreeing to pay Rs 13 crore in compensation, the Supreme Court has cleared the decks for resumption of mining activities in Rajasthan’s Makrana region, famous for its high-quality white marble.

Mining will resume in the 63 quarries in view of the apex court’s approval for diverting the railway track from mineral area of Makarana–Parbatsar to a non-mineral area of Makrana-Bidiyad.

The Rajasthan government has also paid Rs 8 crore to the Railways for diverting the railway track from Makarana-Bidiyad-Parbatsar region.

By an order in 2012, the Rajasthan High Court had cracked the whip on miners for damaging the railway track and ordered the government to stop all mining activities within 45 meters of any road and railway track across the state with immediate effect. The HC had also initiated a CBI inquiry.

A bench, led by Justice Madan B Lokur, however, has now dropped the CBI inquiry against the Rajasthan government officials, police officers and other functionaries for allowing illegal mining in the prohibited area of Makrana-Parbatsar section.

The apex court has set a deadline of June 30, 2018, for the Sangmarmar Khan Vikas Samiti, marble quarry owners’ association, to pay the entire amount to Department of Railways towards the cost of land and expenses of diversion activities. “They will not be permitted to commence and continue quarrying if the total amount is not deposited by the deadline,” the bench clarified.

During a recent hearing, the Rajasthan government’s counsel had submitted that the state will give possession of the quarries to the owners within four weeks.

The bench, however, underscored that statutory clearances will be given by the state government only in accordance with law. “Members of the petitioner association will abide by the law including any clearances that are required to be obtained at their instance, including those relating to air, water and other environmental issues,” recorded the Court in its order.

About the CBI inquiry, the bench said that the HC order was being set aside, in view of the agreement between the parties and the passage of time. “However, we make it clear that in case there is any misuse or violation of law by any of the quarry owners or by anybody else, the inquiry may be revived. Liberty is granted to move an appropriate application in this regard,” added the Court.

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| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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