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| Last Updated:15/10/2019

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Environment clearances: NGT nod brings back business zing for sand miners

RAIPUR: Sand miners have a reason to cheer now. The long-drawn crisis faced by construction sector due to stoppage of sand mining, following a directive by National Green Tribunal (NGT) in August this year seems to be ending, with sand mining activities gearing up again after necessary environment clearances.

Directorate of geology and mining joint director Mahesh Babu said, "The crisis has ended now. In every district, one to two sanctions were being issued to carry out the sand mining work. In Raipur district, 11 mines have been sanctioned while half a dozen mines were given licences in Mahasamund district."

As per official record, of the 900 sanctioned sand mines in Chhattisgarh, 500 are operational. But, after the ceasing of sand mining for want of environment clearances, 49 leases have been approved and nearly two dozen are pending.

On August 5, NGT banned mining and removal of sand from river beds without licence and environment clearance from the Union ministry of environment and forests. NGT's move comes after controversy over UP government suspending IAS officer Durga Sakthi Nagpal, who had taken on illegal sand mining business in the state.

Dwarika Guru, sand vendor, said, "Within two months, I got clearance for my sand mine. Almost four hectare of area has been allotted to me."

In Raipur district, 11 mines have been operational. Mahipal Singh Kunwar, deputy director (Raipur district mining officer) said, "We have received approval of 11 major sand mines for Raipur district. Majorly, of 56 sand mines, 15 are big ones, in which 11 are done with their approvals."

Prem Shankar, another sand vendor said, "In November, I had applied for my sand mine. I am hoping to get the clearance within 15 days."

However, there are some districts where work is yet to begin. HK Marwaha, Balod district mining officer said, "Work at Balod is completely stopped at present. There were 10 licences for approval and we are hoping for work to begin in coming days."

Korba district mining officer, Dinesh Mishra, said," Vendors have got approval for their mining. Within few days we would give them passes. Though work has not yet started, but in coming days, it would begin."

Environment Expert Appraisal Committee member, Manoj Pradhan, said, "We are receiving almost 30-40 applications per month and they are getting approval, as per rules and regulations."

The Times of India (28-12-2013)