India Permits Transfer of Old Forest Clearances for Mining Permit
Hindustan Times reported that India’s environment ministry has made provisions for mining permits to be transferred to new mining lessees from previous lease holders, without having to apply for a fresh forest clearance. In a letter to all states and Union territories on July 7, the ministry said that the transfer of approval under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, can be made provided mining companies that are new lease holders meet certain conditions. The latest exemption is meant to facilitate smooth handover of mines that are presently being auctioned in various states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
The conditions for transfer of forest clearance include complete compliance of terms and conditions stipulated in the forest clearance granted previously, and rules and guidelines framed thereafter.
Non-compliance of conditions, if any, stipulated in the forest clearance granted to the erstwhile agency shall be transferred as liabilities to the new lessee, and in such cases, complete compliance of such conditions will have to be made prior to handing over of forest land to the new lessee.
The reclamation of mined-out forest area in the leased area as per the approved mining plan shall be an obligatory condition for the new lessee, which also has to follow land use plan for the forest land.
The transfer of forest clearance to the new company can be accorded by state governments subject to fulfilment of conditions, the letter said, clarifying that mining companies do not require approaching the Centre in this regard.