Min justifies amendment removing "reserve forest" from Minerals Act

"The guidelines do not mention buffer zones for reserve forests. Hence, exclusion of the term reserve forest from the TN Minor Mineral Concessions Act 1959 through the December 14, 2022 GO is correct," Duraimurugan added.
State Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan
State Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan

CHENNAI: State Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan on Friday justified the amendment made to the Tamil Nadu Minor Minerals Concession Act, 1959 and said that the removal of the term "reserve forest" from the Act through the December 14, 2022 dated GO was right.

In a statement issued on Friday, Duraimurugan clarified that as per the amendment, the ban on undertaking quarrying activity within 1km radius from national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, tiger reserves and elephant corridors exists even now in accordance with the Supreme Court verdict dated June 3, 2022 in a related case.

Citing the guidelines issued by the Union government on February 9, 2011 for not permitting mining activity within national parks and animal reserves, the minister said that it should be taken into account that the term "protected forests" mean sanctuaries and national parks and not reserve forests.

The Union government's guidelines of 2011 were only related to the buffer zone around sanctuaries and national parks and not related to reserve forests, Duraimurugan clarified, adding that as per the December 14, 2022 amendment GO, licence would be issued for undertaking fresh quarrying/mining activity in patta and government poramboke land near reserve forests under condition that applicants must not undertake any quarrying/mining activity within 60 metre radius from the reserve forest limit, and existing quarries shall function as usual.

"The guidelines do not mention buffer zones for reserve forests. Hence, exclusion of the term reserve forest from the TN Minor Mineral Concessions Act 1959 through the December 14, 2022 GO is correct," Duraimurugan added.

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