Forest Advisory Committee says no easing of mining norms
What is the issue ?
- The apex body of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, the Forest Advisory Committee refused to allow unchecked exploration of forest areas for minerals.
What was the proposal that was rejected ?
- Joint proposal by the Coal, Petroleum and Mining ministries to fully exempt themselves from Forest department permissions to scale up the density of exploratory boreholes in forests.
What are boreholes ?
- Boreholes are thin, cylindrical caverns that usually go hundreds of metres underground and often contain metals, minerals and coal.
What is the present permitted level of exploration ?
- Currently companies can dig up to 20 boreholes a square kilometre in forests without taking the Central Government's permission.
Guidelines issued by the Forest Advisory Committee :
- Not all applications(with regard to exploration), the committee has decreed, now required the Central government’s permission.
- State governments could permit the commissioning of such boreholes, provided they involved forests that had a treecanopy density of less than 40%, or what are called ‘open forests’.
- For more heavily forested areas, the Central government’s permissions would be required.
- Companies that conducted surveys would have to pay a compensatory cost that would be linked to the area under lease, and the agency would have to plant 20
- There could be no permission accorded to companies to prospect in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.
- Borehole exploration will be allowed in 'open' and 'moderately' dense forests as per the issued guidelines.