Environment ministry files reply to HC queries on surface mining
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The Union Ministry for Environment on Thursday filed a reply to the questions posed by a division bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court pertaining to surface mining and how many inches and feet one could excavate the earth. The court had also sought a reply on how mines could be categorised as A and B.
Explaining the division of land between categories A and B, the counsel for the ministry, Omkar Singh Batalvi, said, "The land between 5 and 50 hectares will be in category B. Category A land will include land with an area above 50 hectares and those that share their borders with other states. The land with international borders will also be in category A". In category A, the union ministry is authorised to grant permission to give environment clearance for mining.
He also explained that land less that 5 hectares will also be categorised as B, once the orders from the Supreme Court were received. To keep a tab on land, a set of rules and regulations will be put up on the website and anyone could access it.
While defining surface mining, the Punjab government informed the bench that "the minerals that get deposited by erosion from mountains is known as surface mining". "One can dig the earth up to 3 metres and not one inch above that," Batalvi said. The case will now come up for further argument on Friday.
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