The issue of quarrying activities also became the key topic at the recent meeting held by Excise Minister Ganesh Naik with CIDCO. The meet was held to discuss the various issues related to CIDCO, in which the rehabilitation of stone quarry owners was primarily discussed with the Stone Quarry Owners Association requesting fair compensation from CIDCO. It maybe recalled that earlier this year, the Bombay High Court had ordered authorities to stop the large-scale illegal quarrying in Thane district and Navi Mumbai to prevent further environmental and ecological damage and directed illegal quarry owners to stop work at nine locations. Following a court order, Excise Minister Ganesh Naik had requested quarry owners to shut shop earlier this year for environmental reasons. Against this, he had tabled a proposal promising each quarry owner a residential-cum-commercial plot of land measuring one acre from CIDCO as compensation. During the meeting, Excise Minister Ganesh Naik urged CIDCO MD GS Gill to expedite the process of allotment of alternate land so that the quarries could be closed at the earliest. During the meeting, the Panvel Stone Quarry Owners Association met with Excise Minister Ganesh Naik. The association demanded that those who have already received permission to operate till 2016 should be allowed to continue and that adequate compensation should be given to them by CIDCO. CIDCO Chairman Nakul Patil assured that those owners whose quarry will be closed will be compensated fairly. A committee has been formed for this, which will formulate necessary scheme and accordingly decision will be taken. More than 125 quarries, some of which are unauthorized, are operating in total in and around Navi Mumbai, which employ more than 25,000 workers. Apart from the issue of rehabilitation of quarries, the issue religious plots were also discussed. With cameraperson Raju Sharma, Vrushali Chitre for NMTV News.
February 3, 2015