Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 25:
The Odisha High Court today ordered the state government to allow operation of lapsed mine leases in line with the provisions of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation Amendment) Ordinance, 2015.
The court directed the state government to adhere to the provisions of the ordinance, which has done away with the renewal process, and report compliance of the ordinance by April 29.
The court decision will benefit more than two dozen iron ore mines of the state.
The state government however, conceded today that its decision has lost its force in view of the ordinance, which has removed the renewal provision and allowed operation of lapsed leases till 2020 in case of merchant mines and 2030 in case of captive mines.
It may be mentioned here that the state government had put a halt to operation of several iron ore leases, which were due for renewal and had taken a decision to auction them.
The court’s order asked the state government to take necessary steps to allow mining operations and to insert addendum in the existing lease deed.
The state cabinet had taken a decision to auction all lapsed mining leases, except coal, on January 5.
The state government’s decision to go for auction of lapsed mines was prompted by Supreme Court order in May 2014, which had directed it to either renew the leases or cancel their renewal applications since they have completed 50 years of mining.
The state government had later passed a resolution based on the Cabinet decision on January 9.