State environment clearance committee yet to resume functioning in Jharkhand
In 2006, the Government of India had made it mandatory for minor mineral industries to seek environmental clearance certificate following concerns raised by the forest and environment ministry. There are over 2,000 minor mineral industries in Jharkhand, mostly in stone and sand-mining units, which are suspected to cause damage to the environment. As per a statement given by Mr. Pradeep Kumar Jain, general secretary of the Federation of Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FJCCI), there are more than 2,000 minor mineral industries running without clearance certificate in Jharkhand.
As per the order of the ministry of environment and forest (MoEF), the state environment clearance committee (ECC) was to be formed in 2006. It was formed only in January 2013, but is yet to become functional.
As per the guidelines:
- Minor mineral industries operating on less than five hectares of land were exempt from taking EC certificate.
- Minor industries operating on five to 50 hectares had to take clearance from the state environmental committee.
- Minor industries with leases of more than 50 hectares had to take clearances from the central environmental committee.
Lack of environmental clearance certificate, has lead to scarcity of building materials in the market leading to an escalation in the prices of sand, pebbles and stones. Builders have also claimed of harassment from officials questioning about the quantum of building materials being used by them.
Member Secretary of pollution control board and environmental committee has informed that nearly 56 pending applications are likely to get clearance certificates soon. He also asked all such industries to come up and file application for environmental clearance certificate.