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Reprieve for miners

New Delhi, Dec. 16 (PTI): The Supreme Court today lifted its total ban on mining activities in the Aravalli range stretching across Rajasthan and Haryana and permitted it in forest areas where prior permission had been obtained in keeping with the law.

Modifying its October 29 and 30 order imposing an absolute ban on mining, a bench of Justices Y.K. Sabharwal and Arijit Pasayat said mining activity in Rajasthan would be permitted in forest areas where specific prior permission had been obtained under the Forest Conservation Act and the Environment Protection Act.

The apex court, however, stated that no mining activity even with prior permission under these two acts would be allowed in sanctuaries and national parks.

It was alleged that after the Centre delegated powers to Haryana and Rajasthan in November 1999 to approve mining leases, there had been large-scale violation of various environmental laws and illegal mining.

Appearing for Rajasthan, Attorney General Soli J. Sorabjee said the state government had granted no mining licence after 1999. In view of this statement, the court said all post-1999 permissions for mining granted by Haryana in Gurgaon would remain suspended for the time being and posted the matter for further hearing on February 7.

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