Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Oct 18:
With applications for the renewal of mines pending with the Odisha government for 9 years to 29 years and the system of allowing the miners to raise minerals under deemed extension having become a regular practice, the Supreme Court appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) has recommended that the state government should be asked to ensure a timely decision on the first renewal of the mining leases and to come out with a clear cut policy for second and subsequent renewal of leases.
“The CEC is of the view that it is essential that the State Government ensure that a timely decision regarding the first renewal of the mining leases are taken. For the mining leases already under the first renewal such decisions are required to be taken within a maximum period of next one year or so to ensure that the mining lease (first renewal) deeds are executed before 18th July, 2016,” said the CEC in its report to the apex court.
It said the mining leases which become due for first renewal in future, the State Government needs to ensure that a timely decision regarding their renewal is taken and mining lease (first renewal) deeds are executed well before the expiry of two years of period provided in the amended Rule 24 A (6) of the MCR, 1960.
“The CEC is also of the view that the State Government should come out with a clear policy regarding the second and subsequent renewal of the mining leases and after inter alia taking into consideration extent of the illegal mining and the violations of Rule 37, MCR, 1960 by the respective lessee. The State Government should consider each individual case of the renewal of the mining lease strictly in accordance with the policy decision,” said the report.
While there are 187 iron ore and manganese ore mining leases in the State, the status of the grant / renewal of 33 leases are subsisting leases comprising of 17 working leases and 16 non-working leases. As many as 32 leases have been rejected / determined / lapsed / application for renewal not filed.
“16 leases which have all the statutory approvals except the renewal of the mining lease (1st renewal) under the MMDR Act, 1957 are working under the deemed renewal clause as provided under Rule 24 A (6), MCR, 1960. In each of these cases the application for the renewal of the mining lease has been filed by the respective lessee within the stipulated time. The applications for the renewal of the mining leases are pending with the State Government for periods varying from 19 years to 21 months,” said the report.
“8 leases under second and subsequent renewal have all the statutory approvals except the renewal of the mining lease under the MMDR Act, 1957. Express Order under Section 8 (3) of the MMDR Act, 1957 in respect of these 8 mining leases have been issued by the State Government and the mining leases are presently operating. The period for which renewal applications are pending with the State Government varies between 29 years to 9 years,” said the report.