Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 8
The Odisha High Court on Monday disallowed mining lease in scheduled areas without the consent of the Gram Sabha.
A division bench of the court comprising Justice Indirajit Mohanty and Justice BN Mohapatra issued the above order and cancelled the lease while hearing a writ petition filed by Tulasichaura village ward member Ramakant Mahakud and five others on the illegal leasing of Tulasichaura stone mine-3 in Naranpur Grampanchayat of Keonjhar district.
The court also asked the concerned authorities to bid for a fresh lease.
It may be noted that approval of the village committee needs to be taken before sanctioning lease of scheduled areas as per ‘extension to scheduled areas act-1996’. The approval of the committee is also necessary before mining activities can begin as per the Odisha Minor Mineral Concession (Amendment) Rules-2004.
However, the rules were flouted by the state government while sanctioning lease of the stone mines to a private firm for year 2014-15 and went ahead with it despite protests from villagers.
On the other hand, the state government had contended that though the local sarpanch and the gram panchayat had been notified about the lease neither of them did not response.
Ruling that not receiving a reply cannot be considered as the consent of the village committee, the court asked the government for a fresh bid with the approval of village committee as per the Panchayat Act-1996 and ‘Odisha Minor Mineral Concession Rules-2004’.