Bellary: With as many as 37 mining lessees waiting for clearances from the forest department in the state to resume operations, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has directed the state government to upload the progress made in each of the cases on its official website in the interest of transparency.
Acting on the orders of the Supreme Court to fix responsibility on officers delaying the clearances required, Mr M Rajkumar, assistant inspector general of forests, MoEF, has written to the state principal secretary, forests, asking him to prepare charts on the progress made on each of the applications and upload them partly on the website of the state government maintained by the secretary, Department of Environment and Forests and partly on the website of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.
The access to the websites will be unrestricted, according to the MoEF communication dated September 30. Each applicant will be identified by a unique code/serial number assigned to the proposal by the nodal officer, by the number of the mining lease and also the name of the applicant. The government has been given three weeks to upload the information on the websites,which must work on real time basis.
Should the state not follow the ministry’s directions it will be open to the aggrieved mining lessees to approach the High Court against it. Welcoming the move, mining industry sources said it would step up transparency in clearing of applications, cut red-tapism and, accelerate the process of mining operations resuming in the state. Of the 37 mining lessees waiting forest clearances to resume operations, 22 are from Bellary, six from Chitradurga and nine from Tumkur.