New Delhi: Union Environment Ministry on Saturday made it clear that no green nod has been given to Orissa Mining Corporation to mine bauxite in the sensitive Niyamgiri
Reserve Forests in the state and the status quo remains.
"... the order passed by the MoEF expressly states
that the environmental clearance has become `inoperable`.
There is no change in this status quo. It continues to remain
inoperable," the Ministry said in a statement here.
Niyamgiri hills covering two districts of Raigarha and
Kalahandi of Odisha is the homeland of the Dongriya Kondh
The Ministry said the issue of environmental clearance
to Orissa Mining Corporation`s Lanjigarh Project has become
"practically redundant" as it had withdrawn the forest
clearance last year.
"Considering the fact that the MoEF has outright
rejected the request for Forest Clearance, the question of
granting environmental clearance on the land does not arise,"
In the wake of media reports that Ministry`s statutory
green clearance authority has given the nod for mining to a
firm in the hills, the Ministry said the National Environment
Appellate Authority (NEAA) had referred the matter to the
Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for Non-Coal Mining Projects.
A five-member sub-committee was constituted by the EAC
and it has reported back to the EAC itself, it said.
The Ministry said it was in the process of examining
the recommendations by the EAC and will submit its decision to
the the newly constituted National Green Tribunal, before whom
the case is now to be heard.
The Ministry made it clear that it was not bound by
the EAC`s recommendations.