– Bobde was dealing with a case from Uttarakhand where many such projects had come under the court scanner, along with Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant.
NEW DELHI: Chief Justice of India SA Bobde on Friday said he wanted all thermal plants in the country shut to prevent further environmental pollution.
“All thermal plants must be shut,” he said. It’s impossible to breathe in a city that has a thermal power plant, he said referring to a personal experience.
Bobde was dealing with a case from Uttarakhand where many such projects had come under the court scanner, along with Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant.
“You cannot destroy the ecology. You can consider keeping it out of ecologically fragile areas,” the chief justice said, suggesting a review of all power projects in the country situated in such areas.
In this context, he took a dig at the sand mining lobby, too, saying it might seem innocent but isn’t as it damages the rivers and their ecosystems.
The CJI spoke about how the illegal sand mining industry in Kerala had destroyed rivers. Because of the rampant sand mining, mud does not flow down the river but builds up, causing ecological imbalance and affecting water table in surrounding areas. “You are not bothered because you are only bothered about profits,” he said.
In an earlier case he had insisted that the mining ministry insert a clause that miners would have to re-green an area after they are finished with mining. The ministry has already done this.
In another case from Bengal, he had insisted that trees should not be mindlessly cut before a development project was undertaken. Instead, he had insisted that a cost-benefit analysis be made of the huge oxygen producing capacity of these trees and these be monetised before a decision is made to cut them.