Kochi: With the state government yet to comply with NGT directive to set up effective monitoring mechanism for checking violation of environment clearance conditions, most quarries in the state are defying the norms laid down for environment protection.
The NGT in its order issued more than four months ago had stated that laying down conditions for environment clearance was not sufficient unless the compliance of these norms are adhered to. The tribunal had noted that there was no monitoring taking place in 92 per cent of the B category projects to which a majority of the quarries in the state are scheduled.
The NGT had called for an effective mechanism for checking the compliance of environment clearance conditions. The monitoring mechanism should include issuing show cause notices and action based on the ground. It had noted that the ‘polluter pays’ principle by assessing and recovering compensation where violations are found, was not being applied in many cases.
A cross section of environmentalists had demanded severe restrictions and intense monitoring of quarries in the wake of recent landslides that killed around 100 people in the northern districts. Regular and extensive checks are needed in
quarries including cluster quarries across to check the violation of norms.
At many places the violation of Kerala Mines and Mineral Rules is glaring. Most of the quarries in the state were functioning in ecologically sensitive zones which are also prone to landslides.
The government had granted relaxation in rules during the last three years particularly the amendments to Kerala Mineral Concession Rules had paved the way for dilution of strict norms.
Meanwhile, State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) is planning to carry out detailed checks in quarries. The inspection plan comes in the wake of reports of violation of rules by quarries.
The SEIAA is meeting later this week to decide the road map for inspection of quarries. After the back to back devastating
floods in the state, there is huge pressure on the government and other agencies to curb the violations taking place in