Bhubaneswar: Apprehending severe threat to the environment, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in an interim order has directed the Centre not to grant permission for fresh mining in Keonjhar district. The court has also directed not to allow expansion of existing mines in the district, sources said.
The NGT has served notices in this regard to Union Environment & Forest Ministry, Central Pollution Control Board and Odisha government and has sought a status report on mining in the district. Hearing a petition filed by Rahul Kumar Agarwal on the issue, the three-member bench of the apex environmental court has also expressed concern over regular death of wild animals mainly tuskers due to mining activities in the district. The court has fixed November 24 as the next date of hearing of the case, sources added.
The petitioner has alleged that mining activities by companies like Tata Steel Ltd, Rungta Mines Ltd, Essel Mining & Industries Ltd, Triveni Earthmovers, and Sirajuddin & Company have caused severe water and air pollution in the district and have affected the eco balance, revealed sources.
Reacting on the petitioner’s complain, the NGT had sought a reply from the court on whether the said companies are abiding by the environmental laws and also asked the five companies not to discharge polluted water into agriculture fields and water bodies, sources added.