Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Sep 14:
With the increasing number of pending applications seeking permission for mining in Odisha, the Centre has decided to take up the matter with state government officials at the quarterly meeting of the Coordination-cum-Empowered Committee (CCEC) on Mineral Development and Regulation to be held in New Delhi on September 18.
The meeting would discuss with all the mineral bearing states ways to dispose of the pending applications at the earliest.
“The meeting will review on framing timeline in processing of mineral concession proposals. This will not only make the system transparent with self-imposed timelines, but will also create confidence in the industry. Such timelines are required for monitoring and processing the mineral concessions through a web based portal in consultation with the Project Monitoring Subgroup of the Cabinet Committee on Investment,” read the agenda of the meeting.
In June, the Union Ministry of Mines had directed the mineral rich states to dispose of all applications for grant or renewal of mining lease in a time bound manner as per the provisions of the Mines and Mineral Development and Regulation Act (MMDR Act).
According to steel and mines department sources, around 250 renewal applications had been pending with the state government while the government is yet to take any decision on as many as 1,943 prospective license (PL) and 1,725 mining lease (ML) applications. The lackadaisical attitude of the government has discouraged industries while the non-renewal of leases has encouraged illegal mining in the state.
Sources said iron ore and manganese ore leases in particular, are out of operations due to pending statutory clearances. Out of 600 leases, only 102 mines are currently operational. The state government has suspended licenses of 262 mines while operations of 142 mines have been temporarily discontinued.
As per reports, a total of 63,946 applications (645 RP applications, 20,088 PL applications and 43,216 ML applications) are pending with the state governments. Besides, a total of 287 lease/licence execution cases and 2,577 renewal applications are pending with the state governments.
It is also noticed that the pace of disposal of cases has been extremely slow. The pendency is quite high in almost all the mineral-rich states.