Priority to ensure clarity in granting mining licences: Jayanthi

Priority to ensure clarity in granting mining licences: Jayanthi

Govt submits details of exports and imports taking place in Bellary to SC

She said her ministry will ensure clarity while granting mining permissions. She was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an “International Conference on Mangroves” coinciding with the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation’s 22nd foundation day in Chennai.

There are “specific rules and guidelines to be followed for the protection of our forests” before any mining lease is granted. But in the tribal areas, no permits can be given without the concurrence of the gram sabha.

To a query on the situation at Bellary in Karnataka after the Lokyukta’s revelation of massive illegal mining of iron ore, Jayanthi said the ministry had submitted details of exports and imports taking place in the area to the Supreme Court.  

“We submitted the details in a petition on Friday after which it had allowed the public sector National Mineral Development Corporation alone to resume mining at Bellary,” she said.

The minister said environmental clearance for power projects will be strictly go by the yardstick of “environmental sustainability.” “My focus is to convince all stakeholders that “any path of development has to be on the basis of environmental sustainability,” she said.

Jayanthi was categorical that there was no undue time taken by her ministry for giving clearances for development projects.

“About 71 per cent of all clearances are given by the respective state governments themselves where the land involved is less than five hectares.  

Another 17 per cent of the cases were cleared by the regional offices of the Ministry of Environment and Forests and only 9 per cent of the applications come to the Union Ministry level where over 100 acres is involved,” she explained.

Underscoring the importance of protection of the mangrove areas, which protected the coasts from natural disasters like tsunami,  Jayanthi said the country had lost about 12 per cent of its mangroves due to human pressure on coastal areas over the past 30 years.

“We want to develop ports, but we have to ensure that mangroves are not destroyed,” she said. On the occasion, she launched three new initiatives, including distribution of  “Fisher Friend Mobiles” to fishermen.

A brainchild of M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, this facility is aimed at sharing information and satellite pictures from the ISRO to fishermen to enable them work effectively.

Launching “farm schools” for farmers to share their experiences and information on various crops, the minister said the “hazard mapping” of the country’s entire coast is now being implemented in Gujarat, Orissa and West Bengal. Soon, this project will be extended to all the other ten coastal states and Union Territories.  

Prof Swaminathan told the meeting that sustainable and profitable agriculture is possible for farmers only if such small experiments that were launched today are replicated at the national level.

He urged the Department of Atomic Energy to grow mangrove plantations around the upcoming nuclear power plants at Kalpakkam and Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu as a measure to protect the coastal area from natural disasters.

Bharat Ratna for Prof Swaminathan
Union Minister Jayanthi Natarajan hailed eminent Agriculture scientist Prof M S Swaminathan’s services to the country at various levels, including influencing policy making at national and international forums, DHNS reports from Chennai. “M S Swaminathan is a national treasure and very soon the government will confer Bharat Ratna on him,” Jayanthi said.

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