Friday, August 28, 2015

Lion deaths: Centre may bring out new policy on sand mining in forest area

AHMEDABAD: Minister of state for environment and forest Prakash Javadekar on Sunday said that central government is planning to bring a new policy to allow sand mining in forest areas in order to stop the the flood waters from overflowing into the forests.

The minister made the announcement citing the death of 10 Asiatic lions and other wild animals in the recent Amreli floods in June.

"Due to the flood in Amreli recently, 10 lions along with many other wild animals have died. As per the Supreme Court's order, you cannot excavate silt gathered in rivers passing from forest area. As a result, large amount of silt have gathered in such rivers across the country," said Javadekar during an interaction with media at circuit house on Sunday.

"As a result, the river beds have become shallow and the flood water eventually spread in nearby forests. If we do not remove this silt, Forest Rivers will eventually vanish and flood will keep coming. Thus there is a need to remove this silt to avoid such situation," added Javadekar.

He further said, "We have prepared a 'sustainable sand mining policy to allow sand mining in the forest area for this purpose. We will also inform the court about it to seek permission" said Javadekar.

35 projects in Gujarat given clearance in last 15 months: Javadekar

Javadekar claimed that his ministry has cleared at least 35 projects of Gujarat, which were not given clearance since long. "When Congress was in power at the Centre, they had stalled many projects of Gujarat. In last 15 months, we have given clearances to 35 such projects of Gujarat government. Many of the projects were stuck in this ministry since 2007" said Javadekar. Some of these projects which received environmental clearance include 800 MW extension at Vanakbori thermal power station, drilling of 103 wells in Vadodara by ONGC, development of Dholera SIR and limestone mining project in Rangpur village of Junagadh, claimed Javadekar.

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