MoEF to do away with environmental clearance for mining minor minerals in areas less than 5 ha

Jayanthi Natarajan asks officials to take stock in various states

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) is planning to shift mining of minor minerals in areas less than five hectares (ha) into a category where no environmental impact assessment (EIA) will be required. 

The move comes after chief minister of Punjab, Prakash Singh Badal, met environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan on November 21 and apprised her about the shortage of construction materials in the state. He contended that this is leading to a delay in execution of several government and private projects. 

Soon after, at a press meet in Chandigarh, Badal reportedly made an announcement to this effect. 

An official from MoEF, on condition of anonymity, confirmed the news. According to him Natarajan has agreed to shift the mining of minerals in areas less than five hectares to Category B2 instead of Category B1, which attracts EIA. “The minister has instructed the secretary of MoEF to take stock of the scenario in Punjab as well as other states about mining of minor minerals in area less than five hectares and shift the mining of minor minerals accordingly,” added the official.  

Apart from stone and sand, brick manufacturers have been hit in Punjab following the Supreme Court directions upheld by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to not allow excavation of top soil for brick clay mining in Punjab and other states. On November 7, the Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissed a public interest petition seeking exemption of brick kilns from environmental clearance. The petition was filed on the behalf of brick kiln owners and stated that brick clay should be exempted from the ban. However, the court observed that there was no mechanism in place for issuing environmental clearance to the brick kilns in Punjab, which is true for other brick producing states, too. The brick kiln owners will launch a protest from November 23 against the move.  

According to All India Bricks and Tiles Manufacturers president, Arvinder Singh Chamak, MoEF has not clearly said anything about minor minerals during discussions with Punjab chief minister. “Nothing has emerged from these meetings between the ministers. We have approached the ministry of mines to exempt brick clay from environmental clearance. We will continue with the agitation as more 3,000 kilns in the state have been shut and workers are sitting idle,” he added.  

On the other hand, the Punjab government had forwarded EIA reports of 95 minor mineral quarry projects for approval to the MoEF in June 2012; the ministry rejected the leases of 89 in October. According to ministry sources, in most of the villages where such mining projects were proposed, the local residents objected to mining. 

As for bricks, besides extensive pollution, brick-making has caused extensive damage to agriculture in the region–a claim contested by brick manufacturers. A detailed project report of 2010 by Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, Energy Efficient Brick Kiln for the Production of Resource Efficient Bricks, states that 350 million tonnes of soil is consumed by brick industry annually in India from about 20,234 ha of agricultural land. 


Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.


    HOPE THAT THE GOVT WILL LISTEN TO THE VOICE OF THOSE LABOURS WHICH ARE DIRECTLY DEPENDENT ON THE BRICK INDUSTRY,AS THE SEASON IS NEARLY IN ITS HALF WAY, I WOULD URGE THE GOVT AND ASSOCIATION TO ACT FAST AND GIVE A CLEAR VIEW ABOUT THE STATUS OF THIS ACT As it Will lead to the shortage of the brick, which is required as the basic material for the contruction, which ultimately result in increase in the prices of the bricks.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 3 years ago | Reply


    Posted by: Anonymous | 3 years ago | Reply
  • Is this applicable to Gujarat

    Is this applicable to Gujarat Brick Industry ? want some more information on this please give me your contact number.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 3 years ago | Reply
  • Dear Mr Pathan, According to

    Dear Mr Pathan, According to an MoEF official, the ministry is yet to come up with a notification as they are yet to take stock of the situation. If the notification comes out, it will be applicable to all the states, according to this official. You can contact me at Thanks Anupam

    Posted by: Anonymous | 3 years ago | Reply
  • Dear Anupam, I am an

    Dear Anupam, I am an Architect working since 15 years, but this period has been very embarrassing as good quality bricks are not available in the market. The traders say Government is responsible. Fly ash bricks are available in the market, but they are not real fly ash bricks because these bricks are made from the admixture of fly ash, sand and cement. The real fly ash bricks should contain fly ash, gypsum,sand and lime and not cement. The manufactures use only cement because they cannot afford (or not easily available)the lime and gypsum. Also we cannot make designs of different types as the durable and elegant clay bricks are not available in the market.The fly ash brick walls cannot be kept unplastered as these bricks get damaged(eroded) when kept in open because of weathering effects after some years. Overall by using 100% fly ash bricks we are constructing weak structures,and this could lead to a huge disaster when earth quakes strike because the walls will be of only mortar component (bricks=compressed mortar and in between layers of mortar).The utilization of fly ash up to 35% in cement production is also very dangerous. Government should force the local manufacturer of clay bricks to add up to 50% of fly ash in clay because clay acts as the binding material and ash will act as filler material,and in this way the problem of disposing of fly ash will be resolved .But cement has its own limits.The fly ash bricks in the market have no strength because the bricks are just compressed blocks of mortar (sand,cement and fly ash).

    Posted by: Anonymous | 3 years ago | Reply
  • Dear Dhote Did u check the

    Dear Dhote Did u check the compressive strength of fly ash brick(flyash, cement , sand) with the comparison of clay brick.The use of fly ash brick is our necessity for save the environment and economical construction. Please support the use of fly ash brick in our community.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 3 years ago | Reply
  • Dear Mahmood, I am not

    Dear Mahmood, I am not opposing for fly ash use. I am saying that by using 100 % fly ash bricks we are building concrete jungles. Rather, I am saying Govt.should force each clay brick manufacturer to add at least 50 % of fly ash, and anyway the compressive strength of good quality clay brick is more than that of ash + cement brick.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 3 years ago | Reply
  • Dear Dhote, The mix of 50%

    Dear Dhote, The mix of 50% fly ash with the soil: this is not practical for the kiln owner and in this process the cost of brick becomes higher than the present cost. If we use silo fly ash for the flg brick, I hope you will find good strength--100 kg /cm2.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 3 years ago | Reply
  • Dear Mahmood, I am a

    Dear Mahmood, I am a ARCHITECT and that's why I am seeing at it from Architects' point of view; the elegance of clay brick cannot be replaced by any other brick. thanks,

    Posted by: Anonymous | 2 years ago | Reply
  • Hippocrates, the popular

    Hippocrates, the popular Greek doctor, is spelled Hipocràs in present day Catalan and Ipocràs in medieval Catalan. It is wealthy in iodine, and so is practical in strengthening the thyroid, which can be advantageous in improving metabolic rate and bodyweight loss.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 2 years ago | Reply
Scroll To Top