‘Regulate extraction of minor minerals’ - The Hindu - 03/10/2020

A Division Bench has directed the J&K administration to regulate the extraction of minor minerals from water bodies and set up an expert committee to assess any environmental degradation.

Plea for regulation:

The directions came in response to a plea that expressed concerns on account of auction notices being issued without a study of the environmental impact of these auctions.

The plea stated that sand mining may have an adverse effect on biodiversity as loss of habitat caused by sand mining will affect various species, flora and fauna and it may also destabilise the soil structure of river banks and often leaves isolated islands.

The plea pointed out that the States and UTs should see that the mining of minor minerals is permitted only under a strict regulatory regime and is carried out only under an approved framework of a mining plan, which should provide for reclamation as well as rehabilitation of people in the mined areas.

It was observed that the Chief Secretary of the Union Territory shall appoint a committee of experts on the lines of directions given by the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal Bar Association to assess the components and scales of compensation and recommend measures of reparation for acts and omissions which have resulted in environmental degradation.

The bench directed that immediate steps be taken to appoint professional and qualified persons or agencies for technically and scientifically evaluating and fixing the reserved prices of minerals in the UT of J&K.

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