Fast-track environment clearance for mining operations in J&K

For major minerals, existing clearance to be valid for two more years

SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir government on Thursday ordered fast-tracking of the Environment Clearance Process in minor minerals mining operations across J&K.

The order, issued jointly by Forest, Ecology and Environment Department and Industries and Commerce Department, said that in view of the acute and unprecedented shortage of key material for development works, “it is hereby ordered that the Terms of Reference (ToRs), Public Consultation and Environment Clearance, till whichever stage already obtained /completed in favour of the previous allottees of the minor mineral blocks shall be deemed to have been transferred in favour of the new allottees of e-auction process, on the same terms and conditions of the TORs, Public Consultation and EC.”

“The new allottees shall complete the remaining elements of the EC/CTO process and shall commence mining operation only after the completion of the due procedure,” the order said.

It quoted a reference to the amendment made by the Ministry of Mines in the provisions of the Central, Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 in January, 2020. “It is now provided, for major minerals, that successful bidders of the mining blocks where mining leases are expiring under the provisions of the Act, and selected through auction as per prescribed procedure, shall deem to have acquired all valid rights, approvals, clearances, licenses and the like vested with the previous lessee for a period of two years,” the order said and added that it shall be lawful for the new lessee to continue mining operations on the same land for a period of two years.

The order further stated that the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) vide Notification dated 28-03-2020 notified that the new lessee shall deem to acquire the valid EC vested with the previous lessee and continue mining operations on the same terms and conditions of the EC on the same lease area for a period of two years or till it obtains fresh EC, whichever is earlier.

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