Union environment ministry’s Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) has taken a cautious approach to requests from the coal ministry about allowing mining operations in non-forest land before prior clearance.
To avoid “fait accompli” situations where mining begins before requisite permissions are granted, the FAC has directed the environment ministry’s regional office to prepare a briefing paper on inter-dependency of forest and non-forest land where mining involves both land types.
The minutes of FAC’s meeting on June 25, published on Parivesh website last week and seen by HT, show the panel held its view on preventing “fait accompli situations” despite senior officials suggesting that such projects be allowed to start operations without forest clearance.
Coal India Limited, in a letter dated July 14, 2020, and the coal ministry, in a letter dated August 14, 2020, requested the environment ministry to allow commencement of mining operations where Stage-I approval and environment clearance has been obtained and to relax the quorum of Gram Sabha prescribed. Subsequently, a reference was also received from the secretary (coal) where the request was reiterated.