NGT orders to test ground water in Malanjkhand copper project
Bhopal: National Green
Tribunal (NGT) ordered Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) to test ground
water in 10 kms radius in the Malanjkhand copper project (MCP) of Hindustan
Copper Ltd (HCL).
HCL is a PSU under
Ministry of Mines while Malanjkhand mining area in Balaghat is the single
largest copper deposit of India with nearly 70% of the country's reserve. The
mining area in Balaghat also contributes around 80% to HCL's total copper
NGT bench also ordered
director of Kanha National Park to provide permission for collecting samples
from tube wells and other sources within and in vicinity of the sanctuary.
Malanjkhand copper deposit, located 20 km away from the Kanha National Park.
On Friday, water
analysis of 3 km radius done by CGWA was submitted that showed concentration of
NO3 more than permissible limits. Likewise the prescribed BIS limits also
showed that ground water was slightly acidic in nature as also iron content in
water was found to be higher.
However, it was
contended that these could be attributable to use of fertilizers and chemicals
and not to any mining activities by Hindustan Copper Ltd in Malanjkhand area.
Also, in areas where agricultural operations were not carried out, may also be
taken into account as possibility of high NO3 is attributable sometimes to
runoff from agriculture fields where chemical fertilizers are extensively used.
Thereafter, NGT bench
comprising judicial member Justice Dalip Singh and expert member AR Yousuf
ordered for extending the sample area to 'rule out any other possibility'.
MPPCB submitted their
data for water analysis between January 2014 to September 2015. However, it was
submitted that since the project proponent must have submitted the base line
data for appraisal, they may be directed to submit the same to CGWA as well as
t MPPCB and file a copy before the tribunal for comparative assessment as to
whether there has been any significant change as a result of HCL's activities.
HCL's counsel submitted
that in 2013 NEERI had also undertaken sample testing for preparing a report
and extract of the said report may be relevant for comparison following which
NGT asked for its submission along with a copy to CGWA and MPPCB.
In addition to the
above, NGT further directed that CGWA to again carry out analysis of water
samples from locations from where such samples were earlier. Meanwhile, MPPCB
was directed to physically verify whether allegation of discharge from tailings
dam of HCL into the Banjar river has any merit. Tailings dam is built for
storing mine waste and water from the milling process.
MPPCB was also asked to
carry out water analysis of Banjar river at three different locations upstream
and downstream from the tailings dam at a distance of 2-3 kms each.