Chandigarh: Seeking personal intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday appealed to him to get all pending issues examined expeditiously by the Union Environment Ministry for early approval to 95 mining projects.

In a letter to the Prime Minister on Sunday, Badal said, the "non-clearance by the Ministry (MoEF) has not only led to alarming scarcity of construction material but could also cause law and order problems in the state."

Punjab was facing a critical situation regarding availability of  construction material including sand and bricks, which had adversely impacted the construction activity in the state due to issues pending with MoEF, he said.

The Chief Minister asked for an Expert Appraisal Committee of the Environment Ministry to consider the case for granting environmental clearance regarding 95 mining projects under category 'A' which were submitted by the state government in June this year, according to an official release in Chandigarh on Sunday.

Badal further requested the Prime Minister to advise the MoEF to empower the state authority for considering environment clearance of minor mineral projects, irrespective of its area by amending the schedule concerned.

All the mineral projects of an area less than 5 hectares be considered in the B-2 category projects so that their environmental clearances could be obtained in minimum possible time schedule, he said.

Badal also recommended exemption from obtaining environmental clearance for minor mineral projects of ordinary earth and brick earth wherein the depth of mining does not exceed six feet.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister also wrote to Union Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan in light of his meeting with her on December 3. In the letter, he said Natarajan had realised the gravity of the situation then and assured of early action to grant
environmental clearance to projects in the meeting.

"Needless to say, delay of every single day is adding to the distress nearly halting all major infrastructural projects. Since no clearance has been received so far, may I once again request you to personally intervene in the matter and grant early environment clearance to the 95 pending mining projects," Badal said.


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