The industry minister, Mukesh Agnihotri, on Wednesday informed the House that the government had not imposed any blanket ban on the extraction of minerals in Himachal.
“However, the working in the sanctioned mining areas has been suspended for want of environmental impact clearances (EIA) as required under the notification issued by the union ministry of environment and forests,” said Agnihotri, in reply to the question raised by MLA Krishan Lal Thakur under Rule 324.
“Issued in 2006, the notification makes EIA clearances mandatory for carrying out mining activities in an area more than 5 hectares,” he added.
Further, the minister said that the Supreme Court, in its order passed in February 2013, had directed to permit mining activities in less than 5 hectares of land after obtaining EIC from the competent authority.
“Moreover, the National Green Tribunal (NGT), in orders passed on August 5, 2013, has also retrained mining activities over river beds in absence of the environment clearances,” the minister added. In view of these bans, the minister said, 210 minor mineral leases stood suspended. However, to meet-out market demand of the minerals, 174 mining leases are presently in operation.
“These operational mining leases are almost meeting the present requirement of minerals in the state,” Agnihotri said.