MAC: Mines and Communities

No temporary permits for forest mining

Published by MAC on 2005-10-06
Source: Indian Express ()

No temporary permits for forest mining

Indian Express

October 06, 2005

Alarmed by the rampant misuse of its direction on the grant of Temporary Working Permits (TWPs) for mining projects in forest areas, pending final clearance from the Centre, the Supreme Court hasordered discontinuance of the practice till further orders.

''We again reiterate that without compliance of the environmental laws, in particular the permission under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, no Temporary Working Permit or any other permission by whatever name shall be granted for mining activities in national parks, sanctuaries and other forest area,'' said a bench, headed by Justice Y.K. Sabharwal.

The court was hearing pleas filed by senior counsel Harish Salve, alleging its orders were being misused and working permits granted to some parties were being extended. In December 1996, the SC had clamped down on mining in forest areas, making Central approval mandatory for carrying out non-forest activity, including mining.

The affidavit filed by Anurag Bajpai, Assistant I-G of Forests, showed that 21 TWPs were granted between 2003 and 2004 for mining in national parks, sanctuaries and forests. This included three in Andhra, four in Karnataka, 10 in Orissa and one each in Chhattisgarh, Himachal, Jharkhand and Rajasthan.

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