Govt. to transfer existing mining licenses

Govt. to transfer existing mining licenses

The government has decided to transfer all existing environmental clearances of cancelled coal blocks to the new owners once the auction is completed. All blocks require clearance under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, and the Environment Protection Act, 1986. The process of giving green clearances usually takes at least two years for each block and this transfer will help the government save time in allocating licenses for 200-plus mines.

These run as parallel processes, though the final environmental clearance hinges on securing the forestry clearances. The process will also ensure that those who are allotted the mines do not have to initiate the process in cases where clearances have already been obtained, said a senior government functionary. The law allows transfer of environment clearances between different private parties with the approval of the government if there is no change in the nature or process of the projects. The government wants to assure coal-mining companies that the auction of blocks will not be saddled with uncertainty over clearances. The government also believes the transfer of clearances will not be hampered by judicial intervention.

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