The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday gave the Punjab government a week to explain whether it was withdrawing notices issued by it for auction of 24 minor and major minerals. This,after Punjab Advocate General Ashok Aggarwal apprised the court that the government has decided to withdraw the notifications on auction of mining which does not have environment clearance of the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority in operational quarries of up to five hectares.
After the bench asked Aggarwal to get his statement recorded,the Advocate General sought time to seek instructions from the government and file a formal response. Following this,he was given a week to do the same.
The submission was made during the hearing of a petition challenging the notices issued by the government for auction of minor and major minerals. The petitioner,while contending that the auction notices were in complete violation of guidelines laid down by the Centre,had alleged that the competent authority to issue notices for mining projects was Ministry of Environment and Forests and not the state.
On the last hearing,the high court had come down heavily on Punjab for its alleged nonchalant attitude in not seeking mandatory environment clearance for mining from the Centre.