Government Admits Possible Excessive Diversion Of Forests For Mining

Durgapur Deep Mine outside Tadoba Tiger Reserve

The government admitted in the Lok Sabha that it could have allowed excessive diversion of forests for mining activities. But it gave an assurance that it will strictly adhere to ‘go and no-go areas’ and not permit exploitation of dense woods. Maneka Gandhi of the BJP had alleged during Question Hour that the government had cut down one lakh hectare of forests for mining and 30,000 hectare of this was during the tenure of environment and forest minister Jairam Ramesh. Current environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan told the house that between 2007 and 2011, 107 coal mining projects had been approved. She clarified that some of the figures being quoted were combined figures of Stage I (prior to 2007) and Stage II. She also assured that a Group of Ministers (GOM) was looking into aspects of this issue. All issues would be referred to an empowered committee as well.

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