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National Green Tribunal prohibits deforestation for diamond mining

National Green Tribunal prohibits deforestation for diamond mining

Bhopal bench of the National Green Tribunal on Thursday instructed the Madhya Pradesh government to ensure that no tree is cut without the forest department's clearance for diamond mining at Buxawaha in Chhatarpur. The bench composed of judicial member Justice Sheo Kumar Singh and expert member Kumar Verma further directed the applicant, a resident of Jabalpur and a lawyer, to provide a copy of the plea and relevant documents to the respondents as per the June 26 order. The petitions filed by both parties relate to one case of which the central government, Madhya Pradesh government and a private mining company Essels Mining Industries Limited have been named respondents.

"Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Madhya Pradesh shall ensure that there should not be any cutting of trees without forest clearance," the order read. "The applicant is directed to provide the copy of the application and relevant document to the respondents. The respondents may file their reply, affidavit within four weeks by email preferably in the form of Image PDF, OCR support PDF and not in form of Image PDF," the bench said.

The petition argued that the grant of mining lease issued by the state government in 2019 was in violation of laws and that the project would adversely affect the environment. It also noted that that about 4 lakh trees would be destroyed and thousands of tribals living in the forests affected. "The issue raised in this application is grant of mining lease over 364 hectares area in Buxawaha protected forest area, Sogoriya village, Buxawaha Tehsil, Chhatarpur district in MP to Essels Mining Industries Limited, vide a letter of intent issued by the MP government dated 19.12.2019, resulting in environmental damage in violation of environment laws," the bench said.

"Learned counsel appearing for the applicant argued that if the project in question of open mining of diamond by way of cutting the lakhs of trees and deforestation is continued, it may adversely affect and cause deforestation, elimination of about 4 lakh trees, and thousands of tribal living in this forest will be pushed into poverty," the NGT said.

"Learned counsel appearing for the respondent number 4 (Essels Mining Industries Ltd) has submitted that they had filed affidavit just yesterday evening but that is not available on record," the bench said.

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