Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 29:
The Odisha government has decided to grant extension of lease periods to four more mines in the state, informed Steel and Mines minister Prafulla Kumar Mallick here Tuesday.
“The government has decided to grant extension of lease periods to four more mines. The proposal has been sent to the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) for his approval,” said Mallick here Tuesday.
Official sources said the four mines are among the 11 mines that were reviewed at the inter-departmental committee meeting held under the chairmanship of development commissioner UN Behera at the state secretariat here on April 25.
Director of Mines Deepak Mohanty has however, said: “Names of these mines will be announced later.”
The inter-departmental committee meeting had examined the status of 11 closed iron ore mines before apprising status of those to the government for their reopening and had found that none of the mines had statutory clearances.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had on April 16 given his approval to the recommendations of the inter-departmental committee meeting held on April 4 for reopening of 26 iron and manganese ore mines under the amended MMDR Act-2015.
It may be noted here that in 2014-15 fiscal iron ore production had dropped by 40% resulting in fall in tax collection in this sector. Keeping this in mind the state government targets to take steps to give additional leases in this sector and raise revenue through stamp duty.
Last year several mines were closed following Supreme Court orders resulting in fall in production of sponge iron and steel as well as affecting the economy of the state.
The new MMDR Amendment Act, 2015, has done away with the provision of renewal of mining lease and instead, all leases awaiting renewal were automatically allowed to operate till 2020 in case of merchant mines and up to 2030 for captive mines, as per Section 8(A) 5 and 8(A) 6.
The state government has formed the inter-departmental committee to review statutory clearances to different mines and propose for their reopening.