Environment Ministry Reviews Iron Ore Mining Proposal in Saranda Elephant Reserve, Two Years After Rejecting It
Saranda forest. (Photo Credit: File)

Ranchi, June 9: With Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking aloud on his government's take at climate change, the environment ministry is still considering it. Reason being the environment ministry is taking a fresh look at proposal on whether to allow mining of iron ore and manganese in 200 hectares of forest land in Jharkhand’s Saranda to ArcelorMittal India Private Limited.

According to senior officials, the ministry is yet to make its decision public, although the forest advisory committee (FAC) of the ministry heard the matter on May 22. It is to be known that this is regarding the same proposal which was rejected two years ago on the grounds that the region “bears rich forests which are home to many wild animals including elephants”. Climate Change Affects Ability of Forest to Regenerate After Wildfire: Study

Announcing the decision on 2017, the FAC declined to clear the project proposal by ArcelorMittal India Private Limited saying, reports Hindustan Times, “...Any decision to allow mining leases or to open up new areas in Saranda forest for mining needs to be taken after careful thought.”

Adding more, it had said that no decision should be taken until a sustainable mining plan was prepared for Saranda. The area in question has 200 hectares of dense sal (Shorea robusta) forest and is located in the core area of Singhbhum Elephant Reserve of Saranda. Uttarakhand Forest Fire Rages in State, Destroys Hundreds of Hectares of Land in Almora, Nainital, Tehri, Dehradun and Haldwani

In 2018, the environment ministry had published a sustainable mining plan for Saranda and Chaibasa, stating that that the area is categorised to be leased as zone 1 and zone 2. Though there is still confusion on mines falling in the core elephant reserve, wildlife clearances of infrastructure projects are being considered by the forest department for mining in the 200 hectare land in question.