Final clearance for riverbed mining in U''khand in nxt 1-2weeks

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Dehra Dun, Jan 25 (PTI) The Union Ministry of Environmentand Forests (MoEF) may give the final clearance for riverbedmining in forests areas of Uttarakhand in next one to twoweeks, a state government official said today.

The Chairman of state-run Uttarakhand Forest DevelopmentCorporation (UFDC), Jyoti Prasad Gairola, said he expected thefinal clearance in next one to two weeks time, as an empoweredcommittee in the Union ministry has already given its inprinciple approval.

The mining activities in the rivers of hill state havebeen banned for past one-and-a-half years after the ministryrefused to give its permission expressing environmentalconcerns, as they fall in forest areas.

The empowered committee gave its approval after the UFDCsubmitted various survey reports regarding wildlife andhydrology of the forest areas, where it had sought permissionfor riverbed mining.

The UFDC had also prepared a separate environmentalimpact assessment (EIA) report in this regard. The UFDC hadhired a Delhi-based consultant to prepare EIA on rivers likeGola, Sharda, Dabka and Kosi in Kumaon region and Songh andJakhan in Garhwal region.

The ban on riverbed mining in the hill state had not onlyaffected those associated with its business but also raisedthe construction cost many times.

"The cost of building materials became double to triplesince the mining activities were banned in the state making itdifficult for the people to construct buildings," saidGairola, adding, he was hopeful that the cost of materialwould come down with the clearance from the ministry.

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