BS reported that the National Green Tribunal has dismissed Hindalco’s plea challenging the Maharashtra government’s refusal to grant it three more months after expiry of its forest clearance to transport around 0.16 million tonnes of bauxite mined from Kolhapur district.

A bench headed by Justice V R Kingaonkar also declined to direct the state government to forward the company’s proposal for more time to the Centre for grant of approval. We are of the opinion the appeal is without merit. We are further of the opinion that respondent 1 (Maharashtra government) cannot be directed to forward the proposal of the appellant (Hindalco) to the Central government for grant of approval as the discretion of respondent 1 cannot be substituted by passing such order. Consequently the appeal stands dismissed.

The tribunal refused to grant the relief to Hindalco saying when the company was aware that its forest clearance would come to an end on October 2nd 2011 it should have lifted and transported the ore within the stipulated time.

The NGT also said that as per the company’s submission, there was a tar road connecting the mine area for transporting the ore. Thus, reason given by Hindalco that the bauxite could not be lifted due to monsoon season was unacceptable. It further said that it appeared that Hindalco extracted maximum stock of ore during the monsoon period with the expectation it would later get permission to transport it.

The tribunal said that when the appellant was aware the forest clearance was to come to an end on October 2, 2011, the lifting of ore and transportation thereof ought to have been done within the stipulated period. The appellant has stated on record that there is tar road connecting the mine area. Obviously, the reason that due to rainy season the transportation could not be undertaken is unacceptable.

What appears from the record is that appellant extracted maximum stock of the bauxite from the mine during monsoon period, with the expectation that permission could be obtained subsequently for the purpose of lifting and transportation. Such an expectation was frustrated when the proposal was turned down by the state government.

Hindalco, which runs an alumina refinery plant at Belgaum (Karnataka) at a distance of about 60 kilometers from the mining site in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur district had obtained the mining licence, valid till May 2018 from the competent authority for extraction of bauxite.

Courtesy: Business Standard

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