States can mine in non-for­est ar­eas with­out fi­nal green nod

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Chetan Chauhan chetan@hin­dus­tan­

NEW DELHI: The en­vi­ron­ment min­istry has em­pow­ered states to al­low min­ing in non-for­est ar­eas with­out the fi­nal ap­proval from the for­est min­istry, re­vers­ing a UPA-in­tro­duced rule con­sid­ered a ma­jor road­block in fast ex­e­cu­tion of min­ing leases for coal and other ma­jor min­er­als.

The de­ci­sion can lead to faster ex­trac­tion of min­er­als as around 50% of the land in min­ing leases falls in non-for­est ar­eas.

In April 2014, the then UPA gov­ern­ment had made it manda­tory for min­ing com­pa­nies to await a fi­nal clear­ance from the for­est min­istry for both for­est and non­for­est ar­eas to start min­ing.

The new rule was in­tro­duced this month through a no­ti­fi­ca­tion by the NDA gov­ern­ment which took heed of a rep­re­sen­ta­tion by the coal min­istry seek­ing delink­ing of min­ing in non-for­est ar­eas from fi­nal for­est ap­proval as it was de­lay­ing ex­e­cu­tion of sev­eral projects.

Of­fi­cial sources said the green min­istry is­sued the no­ti­fi­ca­tion af­ter con­sid­er­ing the rep­re­sen­ta­tion and con­sult­ing the mines min­istry, which said that the change would be in ac­cor­dance with the Mines and Min­er­als (De­vel­op­ment and Reg­u­la­tion) Act of 1957.

“The state gov­ern­ment, if so de­sires, may ex­e­cute a sep­a­rate min­ing lease for whole or part of non-for­est land fall­ing in such min­ing lease,” the no­ti­fi­ca­tion month said. “The state gov­ern­ments, in such cases, will en­sure that there is no vi­o­la­tion of the For­est Con­ser­va­tion Act”.

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