An activist has moved a plea before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) seeking quashing of two notifications issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to amend the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification of 2006 and constitution of district-level panels for appraising projects for mining of minor minerals.
The Ministry had in January notified the minor mineral mining policy, decentralising the process of granting environmental clearance for sustainable mining of sand and minerals.
Taking note of the plea filed by Vikrant Tongad, a Bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim issued notice to the Ministry seeking its reply within two weeks. The matter has been listed for November 2. The notifications state that the districts will decide on environmental clearance for 5 hectares of individual lease and 25 hectares in cluster. For areas up to 50 hectares, their State counterparts will be responsible for environment clearances. The Ministry will step in to give clearances for areas above 50 hectares. “As a consequence of these notifications, the process for appraisal and environment clearances system has been substantially modified and is inadequate to protect the environmental requirements of ecosystems in granting clearances for mining of minor minerals,” the plea filed through advocate Rahul Choudhary noted.