On the heels of the killing of an IPS officer trying to stop illegal mining, those engaged in extracting “minor minerals” such sand and stone in the state are set to face a major regulation roadblock following a judicial verdict.
After a Supreme Court directive on February 27, the MP Pollution Control Board (MPPCB) has decided to serve notice starting from Tuesday to all minor mines on securing environmental clearance from the state ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) if they want to get their lease renewed.
“We would be serving notice to all the minor mineral mines in the state to get environment cleranance from the MoEF if they want renewal of their leases,” MPPCB member secretary RK Jain told HT.
Of the 4,384 mines in MP, 2,358 (ie more than 54%) did not have the environmental permit, according to the 2010 data obtained by RTI from the state mineral resources department.
The Supreme Court in its order said the states or union territories could grant and renew lease for mines spread over less than 5 hectares (one hectare is 110,000 square feet) only if they get environmental clearance from the MoEF.
Environment clearance is already mandatory for mines whose area is more than 5 hectares.
The SC order, issued by the two-member bench of justice KS Radhakrishnan and justice CK Prasad, is significant because the state had exempted sand and bajri (thick pebbly sand) mines of even more than five hectares from environmental clearance.
It even got this exemption cleared by the Madhya Pradesh high court in 2010, when a public interest petition on the issue was filed by an NGO.
The Congress has called a shutdown on Tuesday in protest against the killing of IPS officer Narendra Kumar Singh, allegedly by the mining mafia.