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Plea alleges cutting of 5 lakh trees for mining in Chhattisgarh, SC seeks response

ANI | Updated: May 11, 2022 20:44 IST

New Delhi [India], May 11 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a response from Rajasthan Rajya Vidhyut Utpadan Nigam Limited (RRVUNL), a mining company and others on a plea seeking a stay on the operations of the mining in Phase-II in Parsa East and Kente Basan (PEKB) mine alleging that due to which RRVUNL is proceeding to cut about 5 lakh trees.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and PS Narasimha asked the respondents to file their responses in the application filed by Chhattisgarh-based lawyer Sudiep Shrivastava and posted the matter for further hearing on July 14.
The court, however, did not pass an order to stay the operations of the mining.
Parsa in Chhattisgarh's dense Hasdeo Arand forests is one of the 30 coal blocks and is owned by the RRVUNL.
Seeking a stay on the operations of the mining, advocate Prashant Bhushan appearing for Shrivastava, submitted that the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the Chhattisgarh government has granted permission to RRVUNL for mining in Phase-II in PEKB mine and pursuant to that RRVUNL is proceeding to cut about 5 lakh trees.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi, representing the RRVUNL submitted before the court that RRVUNL is having all the requisite permissions for mining in Phase-II as per law.
It was brought to the notice of the court that coal mined from PEKB is being supplied to power plants of the RRVUNL, catering to about 40 per cent of the power requirement of the State of Rajasthan. He also submitted that the application be dismissed since it holds no merits in light of all the permission duly given by the Authorities.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing on behalf of the Union of India, submitted that out of 23 coal blocks in the Hasdeo area, permission for mining is given to only 4 blocks, in order to maintain an ecological balance as well as sustainable development, so there is no question of any stay.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing on behalf of Parsa Kente Collieries Limited (PKCL), Mine Developer and Operator, submitted that since these are fresh applications, so time is to be given for filing of reply.
Singhvi also submitted that stay is given in 2014 by this Court and the same cannot be vacated without giving an opportunity of hearing to the parties and he also brought to the notice of the court that RRVUNL has already planted 8,00,000 trees on reclaimed areas and planation of around 60 lakh trees under the compensatory afforestation has been completed by Forest Department.
The Supreme Court has already seized of the petition filed by Shrivastava where he sought de-allocation of RRVUNL's Parsa-Kente Extension coal block (adjoining Parsa open cast mine) in Chhattisgarh and cancellation of the joint venture and coal delivery agreement with Adani Enterprises Limited. (ANI)