Tribune News Service
Dehradun, July 18
More than 86 mining projects and other industrial projects seeking environment clearance (EC) at the state level of private and government bodies are pending for more than a year, due to the non-constitution of State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) and the State Environment Impact Assessment Committee (SEIAC), stalling development activities in the state.
The tenure of both SEIAA and SEIAC ended on March 2016 and since then proposals for sand mining in the state put up by private companies and the state Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN) have not been cleared. These state-level bodies take up an elaborate exercise of scrutinising projects falling under B-category. But, the Environment Appraisal Committee (EAC) at the Centre takes up the project proposals falling under Category-B.
“Things have come to such a pass that the Category B project proposals are now being sent as category A projects for approval to the Central body,” said Director (Mining) Vinay Shankar Pandey.
The worst-hit is the government’s own entity, GMVN, which has been unable to carry out any significant mining activity as almost all its proposals at Pauri, Roorkee and other places, pertaining to sand-mining and stone and boulder mining, are pending. “Our mining activity is limited to small areas. The problem of seeking clearances from the Centre is a big hurdle. As it is due to the High Court ban on mining on upstream and downstream of areas near the bridges, our options are limited. So you can see mining activity is virtually at a standstill,” said a GMVN official.
Significantly, the proposal of the constitution of new members of SEIAA and SEIAC was sent during the fag-end of the tenure of former Chief Minister Harish Rawat’s government, but the Ministry of Environment had struck down the composition of the committee members. “The proposed members did not stand up to the scrutiny of the Centre, as such the government was asked to come up with new names, later the whole process was mothballed,” said a senior official.
The names of chairman and member secretary for both the state-level SEIAA and SEIAC are recommended by the Department of Forest, which is the nodal agency and later approved by the Uttarakhand Government.
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