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Fresh guidelines for mining sector soon

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Bangalore, Sep 18 :

The NDA government is framing fresh guidelines to revive the mining sector, which has been reeling under a host of problems due to irregularities by a section of miners and judicial interventions for compliance.

“The guidelines are being framed in consultation with other ministries to revive the mining sector and boost production, which slumped over the few years due to various factors,” Union Minister of Steel and Mines Narendra Singh Tomar told reporters here Thursday.

Mining PicBesides guidelines that will enable mining firms to procure leases early and explore new areas for mining metals and minerals across the country, the ministry is working on a revised bill to the Mines and Mineral Development & Regulation (MMDR) Act 1957, as the 2011 legislation lapsed with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha in May.

“We are fine tuning the amendment bill keeping in view the Supreme Court’s rulings in mining cases and recommendations of the M.B. Shah Commission that went into illegal mining in Goa, Karnataka and Odisha over the years,” Tomar said on the margins of a mining summit at Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC) on the city’s outskirts.

The 2011 amendment bill also advocated sharing of 26 percent of profits with the affected people.

As mining of metals and minerals are undertaken by the state-run and private firms under the supervision of central and state governments, the ministry is also holding talks with concerned states, which has huge mineral deposits, especially iron, bauxite, manganese, copper and coal.

“We have sought inputs, including data from mineral-rich states like Chattisgarh, Goa, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Odisha and the industry stakeholders like Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (Fimi) for tabling an effective bill in the ensuing winter session of Parliament,” Tomar said after unveiling the Mining Mazma 2014, organised by the ministry with Fimi and other industry partners.

The guidelines, to be finalised in a week, are expected to ensure greater transparency in allotting mining leases and decentralisation of decision-making to states for allocating resources to minors on competitive bidding.

“In view of the negative perception of the mining sector in the country following multi-crore scams in a few states, especially Goa and Karnataka over the past decade, we need to function in a transparent and open system with a robust regulatory framework to serve not only the interests of stakeholders but the country as well,” Tomar asserted.

On allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in the mining sector, the minister said the relevant Act (MMDR) was being amended in consultation with the industry and state governments to facilitate FDI in prospecting and exploration in new areas.

Noting that the “greed” of the profit-oriented mining sector led to the current mess in the industry, leading to judicial intervention, Tomar told about 500 miners and other stakeholders participating in the three-day summit-cum-trade show that they should keep the country’s interests above their personal gains and work for the socio-economic development of the nation.

(IANS)