The State Environment Appraisal Committee (SEAC) has rejected the proposal of a private company to conduct quarrying in the Lonavala-Khandala area on the ground that it could pose a threat to the environment.
The company, Robo Silicon Private Ltd, had proposed to produce artificial sand from basalt, for which quarrying was required near the hill stations.
The SEAC team assessed the terrain, which is used as a grazing ground, and rejected the proposal saying it would affect the surrounding seven eco-sensitive villages, the ambient air as well as the Mumbai-Pune Expressway nearby.
SEAC chairman T C Benjamin said that Robo Silicon wanted to carry out stone quarrying and crushing activity at Khanav village across an area of 15.75 hectares. “We refused permission as the committee observed that impact of both quarrying and crushing of sand had not been studied in a scientific manner. The proposed area was in the run of zone of hills and quarrying would affect the aquifers,” said Benjamin.
The SEAC committee visited the site on July 26 last year and June 19 this year. In its report, the committee observed that the proposed location was near the Kamala bird sanctuary.