Govt amends mining law, exempts small-scale activities from green clearance

Manual sand mining, desilting village ponds and tanks, digging wells for irrigation wouldn’t need environmental clearance from now on

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Removal of sand deposits from agricultural fields after floods will not require green clearance now, with the Centre amending the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act.

In its notification, the Union Ministry of Environment has said that extraction of ordinary clay or sand by manual mining, by the kumhars (potters) to prepare earthen pots, extraction of clay or sand by manual mining by earthen tile makers shall be exempted from the condition of acquiring environmental clearance.

“The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is in the receipt of representations for waiver of requirement of prior environmental clearance for borrowing of ordinary earth for roads; and manual extraction of lime shells (dead shell) etc., within inter tidal zone by the traditional community,” the ministry said while making amendments in mineral laws.

It said exemption from the requirement of environmental clearance shall also be given to “removal of sand deposits on agricultural fields after flood by farmers. Customary extraction of sand and ordinary earth from sources situated in Gram Panchayat for personal use or community work in villages.”


“Community works like de-silting of village ponds or tanks, construction of village roads, ponds or bunds undertaken in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment and Guarantee Schemes, other government sponsored schemes and community efforts. Extraction or sourcing or borrowing of ordinary earth for linear projects such as roads, pipelines, etc. Dredging and de-silting of dams, reservoirs, weirs, barrages, river and canals for the purpose of their maintenance, upkeep and disaster management,” the ministry delineated the exceptions.

Digging of wells for irrigation or drinking water purposes and digging of foundation for buildings and excavation of ordinary earth or clay for plugging of any breach caused in canal, nallah, drain, water body, etc., to deal with any disaster or flood-like situation upon orders of the district collector or district magistrate or any other competent authority as well as activities declared by the state government under legislations or rules as non-mining activity shall not require prior green nod, the ministry said.