SC notice to Centre on appeal against UltraTech Cement’s limestone mining project in Gujarat

The Supreme Court has sought a response from the Centre on the appeal that challenged the National Green Tribunal order that gave environmental clearance (EC) for a limestone mining project of UltraTech Cement in Bhavnagar district in Gujarat. 

The bench issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Gujarat Pollution Control Board, UltraTech Cement, Uncha Kotda Gram Panchayat, and others. “Issue notice. A counter-affidavit is filed within a period of four weeks. Rejoinder affidavit, if any, be filed within a period of four weeks thereafter. List the Civil Appeal after eight weeks,” the bench said. 

The NGT had dismissed the plea filed by the petitioners, on September 24, 2020, explaining that the concerned authorities and Panchayats were given notice, and they willingly supported the project.  

The Mining Plan was revised and the mining area was reduced by less than 5 percent.   

Senior advocate Sanjay Parikh is appearing for the petitioner Gabhabhai Devabhai Chauhan and others against the grant of EC by the Ministry of Environment and Forests for the project “Limestone Mine”. Advocate Parikh mentioned that there was no independent application of reasoning while understanding the objections which were raised against the environment clearance certificate. 

The petitioners argued that the grant of EC was done without a meaningful public hearing and several vital aspects were ignored in the decision. They claim to be residents of the three villages where limestone mining will be undertaken.