New Delhi: Clearing the long pending proposal of Jammu and Kashmir Minerals Development Corporation, the Union Ministry for Environment has given nod for mining in the Vaishno Devi shrine located in the mountains.

The permitted land falls under the jurisdiction of Vaishno Devi Shrine Board.

During a meeting of National Board of Wildlife’s Standing Committee, Environment Minister Jayanthi  Natrajan gave permission for setting up magnesia plant. Mining of magnesite will take place in the vicinity of shrine where rare and endangered species are generally found.

It is learnt that the proposed move can pose threat to wildlife in the vicinity.

As per the proposal of the Jammu and Kashmir government, mining of 12.40 lakh tonne per annum will take place in Chipran mountains and 30, 000 tonne magnesite production plant will be set up.

Around 485.30 hectares of land has been approved for mining purpose out of which magnesite mining will take place from 17.92 hectare land.

Few guidelines have been also issued for mining near the Trikurta Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Chief Wildlife Warden of J&K informed the committee that the state government had already started "the process of identification of areas to be notified as new sanctuary" as per the guidelines of the Standing Committee.

A few conditions which have been imposed in the area include conservation plan for wildlife, maintaining green cover in nearby areas including conservation of water, and putting a ban on hunting for wild animals.

JPN/Bureau