Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, June 14:
Odisha Steel and Mines minister Prafulla Kumar Mallick on Friday informed the State Assembly that the leases in 307 mines have already expired in Odisha while as many as 449 mines are yet to be operational in the state.
Replying to a question of Congress member Naba Kishore Das, he said the 307 leases which had expired include 128 iron ore and manganese mines and 179 other mines.
He said application for renewal of the mining leases are at different stages of consideration. While 16 applicants which have applied for renewal of their mining leases have their own units in the state, the rest have no industrial units of their own, he added.
Stating that out of the 601 mines, only 107 are operating as per the five-year mining scheme, the minister said various individuals and mining companies have applied for mining leases and prospective licences for the surplus minerals. These are under consideration of the state government as per the various rules and the directions of courts.
Replying to another question on mining royalty, Mallick said though the state government had repeatedly urged the Centre to increase the royalties both non-coal minerals and coal between December 2000 and March, 2014, the latter was yet to hike the rates of royalty in respect of non-coal minerals since 2009 and the rate of coal royalty since 2012.
The minister informed the members that the Centre had last hiked the rates of royalty for non-coal minerals in 2000, October 2004 and August 2009. It had also increased the coal royalty in August 2002, August 2007 and May 2012.