COAL & MINES

NGT Delhi seeks action taken report on Bander coal blocks

The National Green Tribunal (NGT), principal bench, Delhi, has directed formation of a committee and sought a factual action taken report (ATR) regarding the auction of Bander coal blocks close to Tadoba.

The committee should have a representative of MoEFCC, state chief wildlife warden and a chief conservator (CCF). The tribunal has also sought reply from the respondents in six weeks.

Even as the belated order on a petition filed by Bandu Dhotre, founder, Eco-Pro, came on Friday, the coal ministry on July 21 has already issued orders to withdraw Bander coal block as it falls in eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of Tadoba in Chandrapur district.

NGT bench comprising justice Sheo Kumar Singh and expert member Siddhanta Das took serious cognisance of the allegations against the coal ministry and MoEFCC regarding inviting auction on June 18.

The environment interest litigation (EIL) by Eco-Pro was filed by environment lawyer Asim Sarode. Bander block is very close to Tadoba and its boundary touches the buffer zone.

Sarode said, “It’s surprising to know that the coal block lies in reserve forest. The mining proposal was first rejected by environment ministry in 1999 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was prime minister and then again in 2010 during Manmohan Singh’s tenure.”

The petitioner mentioned that over 1,200 hectare biodiversity rich and tiger bearing forest land will be diverted if coal mining is allowed in this area. He said Bander falls in tiger corridor to Bor and Melghat tiger reserves. Man animal conflict is on rise in Chandrapur and clearing of forest for mining will increase the problem.

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