BHOPAL: Taking a suo moto cognizance of TOI’s report on dolomite mining posing threat to tiger corridors and forest around Kanha National Park, central zonal bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday served notices to the central and state authorities. The agencies and officials served notices are ministry of environment and forest (MoEF), state’s chief secretary, member secretary of MP pollution control board (MPPCB), secretary of mining department, principal secretary of forest department and Mandla collector.

A bench headed by Justice P Jyotimani and Ajay A Deshpande asked these respondents to submit their replies on four points: 1) How many leases/licences are actually in operation in Mandla district, 2)How many of these are 250 metres from the forest boundary?, 3) How many of them have exceeded the period of licence/permission or extended the licence capacity given?, 4) What actions have been taken by the authorities concerned pursuant to the forest department’s communication as stated in the newspaper?.

All respondents have been asked to submit reply by the next hearing slated on May 1. Standing counsel for the state government – Sachin K Verma, took the notice on behalf of the state government and counsel Kamlesh Dwidei took the notice on behalf of MPPCB.

TOI, in its March 10th edition, had reported that tiger corridors and its habitat around the Kanha park is threatened by unabated mining of dolomite with some mines being reported 0 metres from forest limits.

While the forest department wants immediate closure of nearly 60 mines operating in the region, administrative officials have turned a blind eye to the proposal terming that mining operations will continue till the expiry of lease. Mining permissions were issued before the new forest conservation Act came into force, say officers in the mining department.