Ministry matters

Environment Ministry changes standards for mining projects to ‘absorb delays’ – The New Indian Express

Express press service

NEW DELHI: To expedite the environmental clearance of mining projects, especially in the states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha, the Ministry of Environment has decided to modify the standards for the preparation of wildlife management plan (WMP) to study the impact and mitigation measures of projects on wildlife and has introduced a new policy directive to charge a lump sum of the project cost to the implementation of the WMP.

The policy action recommended by the ministry’s forestry panel indicates that the state government should submit the WMP, together with the detailed cost of its implementation in the Compensatory Afforestation Account (CAMPA) as well as compliance with the step I.

“However, in cases where it is not possible for the State to submit compliance due to a delay in the preparation of such a plan, 2% of the total project cost for the cost of implementation of the WMP and/or 0.5% of the project cost the cost of implementing the soil and moisture conservation plan, as applicable, will be charged to the user agency and deposited into the account of the CAMPA,” recommended the Forestry Advisory Committee (FAC) at its recent meeting.

In accordance with the procedures, approval granted under the FC Act 1980 for mining projects mainly includes conditions relating to the preparation of a wildlife management or soil and moisture conservation plan by the State in consultation with the reputation institute. In a way, the new proposal gets rid of it.

“In general, the preparation of such plans by leading/reputable institutes takes a long time, which leads to considerable delays in the process, ultimately delaying the start of different development projects. The committee has been informed that many proposals in states like Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand are awaiting submission of these plans and deposit of costs to CAMPA’s account,” the panel observed.

He further stated that during the various root cause analysis reviews of the factors responsible for the delays in the approval process, it was also observed that these plans were causing delays in the process of obtaining approval. of the central government.

The CCF deliberated on the issue and the Committee felt that such a situation should be resolved and that a balanced view of the country’s conservation and development needs should be adopted.

“In order to streamline the approval process under the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980, the action taken should not compromise the issue of conservation and protection of our natural resources on the one hand and should not not hamper the nation’s legitimate need for development, on the other hand due to procedural requirements,” he added.