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Software to monitor mining related activities

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The Union Ministry of Mines and mineral-rich states have agreed to develop software to monitor clearances required post-auction and till the start of mining.

In the recent meeting between the officials of Union Ministry of Mines and state representatives, it was also decided that the software should be able to monitor timelines for each of the key activities involved in the clearance whether it is forest, environment or land acquisition.

The state government and other departments concerned should be able to update the processing status on online portal for monitoring and expediting the post-auction mining clearances. Bidders will also be allowed to be registered on the portal to enable them to flag issues and provide updates, said an official from the ministry.

In an attempt to promote ease of doing business, the meeting also decided to grant various clearances and land acquisition in a time-bound manner.

As per the decision, the Union Environment Ministry is expected to grant its clearance for the auctioned mines in 165 days, issue of terms of reference in 30 days, public consultation in 30 days, submission of environment impact assessment and environment management plan in 60 days. The decision by the Expert Appraisal Committee for grant of environment clearance should be in 45 days.

For forest clearances, the stage-I clearance is expected in 90 days, and stage-II approval will be granted in 45 days.

For acquisition of land, within 60 days, requisite consent of land owners should be taken, while acquisition of land should be completed in 120 days for mining, sources said.

In the meeting, Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) informed that revised guidelines for forest clearance are to be finalised within a month. However, the Centre will delegate the power to states to grant approve based on forest canopy on proposed mining areas.

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