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HindustanTimes Wed,22 Oct 2014

Central govt's decision onmining creates flutter

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Shimla, August 30, 2014
First Published: 19:05 IST(30/8/2014) | Last Updated: 19:07 IST(30/8/2014)

The central government asking the state government not to grant permission for river bed mining up to five hectares of area has created flutter in the state.

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Fearing losses more than 18,000 tractor owners have been objecting to the decision of the union government. The state government had written to the union ministry of environment and forest for relaxing the mining permission for the state.

VP Upadhyaya and PB Rastogi from the ministry of environment and forest on August 28 had said before the National Green Tribunal chairperson Swatantra Kumar's bench that no environmental clearances would be granted for extraction of minerals where the area was less than five hectares.

Industry minister, Mukesh Agnihotri, had written to the union forest and environment minister Prakash Javdekar to permit mining on two hectare of area and to plead the case strongly before the NGT in the wake of growing crisis of construction material in the state.

Keeping the construction material crisis in mind, the state had urged the Centre to relax the condition in the state but instead of helping Himachal from the existing condition, the Centre stated not to give mining permission or environmental clearance where land area up to five hectare is involved.

However, the Supreme Court had also permitted to grant the mining permission with environmental clearance to the state but Centre's statement is adverse to even the apex court's order.

Sources said it would deepen the construction material crisis in the state and would also increase illegal mining activities.

Agnihotri said he had taken up the matter of relaxing the certain condition for Himachal keeping topography in mind with the union minister but the Centre's statement before the NGT was not in the interest of the state. "We oppose the Centre's move of not granting mining permission up to five hectares," he said, adding that it would hamper the state's interest.

Sources in the industry department said since the apex court had permitted mining on up to five hectares with environmental permission, the state might knock Supreme Court's door to ease the pressure on limited legalised sources of construction material.

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