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SC Summons Maharashtra Chief Secretary Over ‘Total Lack of Concern’ to Illegal Mining

The bench took strong exception to the fact that despite repeated opportunities, the state government has failed to come clear on its position.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:October 27, 2018, 9:51 AM IST
SC Summons Maharashtra Chief Secretary Over ‘Total Lack of Concern’ to Illegal Mining
A file photo of the Supreme Court. (PTI)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has summoned Maharashtra Chief Secretary over "total lack of concern" shown by the state to stop illegal mining near Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary.

A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur took strong exception to the fact that despite repeated opportunities, the state government has failed to come clear on its position regarding steps taken to halt all mining activities in contravention of the environmental norms.

The court noted that despite making it clear in April that the state government must act against the miners who have not taken approvals from the National Board of Wildlife, the Maharashtra government has not bothered to file any report in this regard.

"Today, learned counsel appearing for the State of Maharashtra once again seeks time to file a reply. We are not inclined to accede to the request in view of total lack of concern shown by the State of Maharashtra to the orders passed by this court as also to the illegal mining which had been directed to be stopped even by the Government of India," said the bench.

It then called upon the chief secretary in person for an explanation on November 2.

"Under the circumstances, we require the presence of the Chief Secretary of the State of Maharashtra on November 2 to explain why there is no concern shown at all for the orders passed by this court and orders passed by the Government of India and why illegal mining is continuing," stated the court order.

The bench further directed the Chief Secretary to ensure that illegal mining in areas where there is no clearance given by the National Board of Wildlife should be stopped with" immediate effect".

The order was passed on a plea filed by M/s Puntambekar Minerals for the purpose of mining bauxite near the Radhanagri sanctuary.

The applicant, through advocates Mohit Paul and Ayush Aggarwal, pointed out that the National Board of Wildlife in February had asked the Maharashtra government to take action against the illegal mining but nothing was done.

The lawyers also cited a report prepared by a committee under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change that highlighted illegal mining in the vicinity of the wildlife sanctuary and proposed action against such illegal activities.

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| Edited by: Sana Fazili
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