Row over forest land status may snap mining operations in Odisha

The operations of mines without prior forest approval in place is at stake as the deadline for obtaining the permit is nearing.

All such leaseholders are required to get the prior approval on or before March 9 this year to keep their mines running.

The deputy director of mines in respective circles has issued clear instructions to lessees to stop transportation of minerals in case they fail to obtain prior approval of the central government under Forest (Conservation) Act in respect of land treated as 'non-forest' land which is recorded as 'forest' land in government records on or after the Act came into force.

The lessees who are not affected by this order are to submit necessary information to continue raising and transportation of minerals beyond March 9.

According to the guidelines communicated by the Union ministry of environment, forest & climate change via a letter on March 10, the miners are required to take prior approval of the Union government in respect of land treated as non-forest land but has a status of forest land in government records.

The concerned user agencies were allowed time up to one year (or March 9, 2016) to obtain the necessary clearance. But hitherto, none of the lessees has reported anything on the action taken in respect of their mines.

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