Kochi: The Kerala High Court Monday held that no environment clearance is required to operate existing quarries having less than five hectares of area in the state.
A division bench, comprising of Acting Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice A M Shaffique, also held that environmental clearance is required for new mining projects.
While disposing a batch of petitions including a PIL against illegal mining which is allegedly ramapant in the state, the Court said that quarrying operation cannot be permitted without a mining plan.
The Bench also granted time for existing lease holders to submit mining plan to concerned authorities.
The Court further clarified that the environmental clearance, as per notification dated 14-09-2006, will be applicable for new mining projects.
The Court directed the District Collectors to examine the right of quarry-owner and mining permit of owner to carry mining operations before issuing necessary clearces.
The Court also directed the District Collectors to ensure that mining operations are in accordance with rules as well as observations by Court.