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Modification in Forest Clearance Norms

The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) vide letter dated 01.02.2013 informed the all State/ Union Territory Governments as below:

(i) Henceforth, in case of mining leases having forest land in part or in full, approval under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 (FC Act) for diversion of entire forest land located within the mining lease shall be obtained before execution/renewal of the lease under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. Applications seeking prior approval under FC Act for diversion of the entire forest land (and not a portion thereof) located within the area proposed to be assigned on lease shall only be accepted by the Nodal Officers in the concerned State/ Union Territory Governments.

(ii) All State/Union Territory Governments shall within a period of three months submit to the MoEF details of all such mines where approval under the FC Act for diversion of only a part of forest land has either been obtained or is presently under examination in the State/Central Government. The State Governments in all such cases shall request the concerned user agencies to submit application to obtain approval under the FC Act for diversion of the remaining forest land located within the mining lease. Mining in such leases after two years will be allowed only if the user agency either obtains approval under the FC Act for the entire forest land located within the mining lease or surrenders such forest land for which approval under FC Act has not been obtained and execute a revised mining lease for the reduced lease area.. This was stated by Shrimati Jayanthi Natarajan Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Environment and Forests, in the Rajya Sabha today, in a written reply to a question by Dr. Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu.

The Minister further stated that approvals under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 for diversion of the forest areas located within the mining leases for which such approval has not been accorded so, far, will be subject to fulfilment of inter-alia the conditions that the State Governments concerned shall realise from the concerned user agencies the cost of creation and maintenance of compensatory afforestation, Net Present Value of forest land diverted, cost of implementation of wildlife conservation plan (wherever required) etc. The amount likely to be realised from the user agencies will depend on the area of additional forest land for which approval under the FC Act is accorded by the MoEF. Exact amount likely to be realised from such user agencies therefore, may not be assessed at this stage, the Minister added.

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