Fees must for forest use, Mines Ministry told - The Hindu -12-09-2020

The Environment Ministry has rejected a plea from the Ministry of Mines for exemption from forest penalty

The Ministry of Mines has requested an expert advisory committee of the Environment Ministry to exempt it from the Supreme Court-mandated fees that prospectors pay when they dig exploratory boreholes in forests.
For prospecting on a site, large boreholes are dug to determine the existence, location and quantity of metal.
The SC mandates that Net Present Value (NPV) must be paid by those who use forest land for non-forestry purposes.
Last month, officials from the Ministry of Mines requested that ‘prospecting and exploring’ in forests be exempted from ‘the purview of the Forest Conservation Act.’
It was highlighted that all areas of exploration were not converted into mining and only about 1% cases are converted to mining.
It was argued that the payment of NPV was regarded as an avoidable expenditure.
It said that the payment of NPV at a rate of 2% or 5% was one of the major challenges which lead to delay in the exploration activities.
The Forest Advisory Committee, the Environment Ministry-constituted expert committee decides on whether forests can be diverted for projects.
It said that it was not possible to do away with NPV but recommended that the Environment Ministry “may consider charging NPV on borehole basis instead of the present practice of charging 2 or 5% NPV of the total forest area in the lease area.”

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