After stalling the expansion plan of the alumina refinery and captive power plant of Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL), the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) has now trained its guns on 14 mines in Jharkhand supplying bauxite to feed the company's refinery plant.
Alleging that 11 out of these 14 mines are operating without prior environmental clearance, the ministry has shot off a letter to the Chief Secretary of Jharkhand, asking for corrective action.
"Most of the mines in question appear to be operating under the deemed renewal. As per the directions of the Supreme Court of India and the clarification issue by the MoEF dated July 2, 2007, all such projects which have been operating without any environmental clearance would obtain environmental clearance at the time of their renewal of their mining lease”, said the MoEF letter to the Jharkhand Chief Secretary.
"In view of the above, it is requested that all the concerned departments may be directed that the project proponent of the concerned mines shall obtain environmental clearance at the time of renewal of mine lease under the provisions of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification of 2006.
Else, punitive action will need to be taken under the Environment Protection Act, 1986 for violating the EIA Notification of 2006”, the letter added.