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SC grants extension to Odisha to renew mining leases


Bhubaneswar, Nov 22;

The Supreme Court has granted a three-month extension to the Odisha government to clear the lease renewal applications of 18 mines which were asked to halt operations following a court order, an official said Saturday.

iron ore miningMines Director Deepak Mohanty told IANS: “Considering our request, the apex court had granted a three-month extension to take a decision on the mining lease renewal applications of 18 mines. We will soon consider the applications.”

The court’s order came Friday.

In May, the court had directed temporary closure of 26 mines in Odisha which were running on deemed extension. It had asked the government to take a decision by Nov 15 whether or not to renew the mining leases.

However, the government moved the court seeking more time to consider the applications.

Out of the 26 mines, eight mines of Tata, SAIL and Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) were allowed operation through express order with conditions that they will have to submit environment and forest clearances for lease deeds execution by Nov 15.

“Except SAIL, nobody has submitted the requisite clearances. We have executed lease deeds of three mines of SAIL and other remaining mines have been asked to stall operation till they have not submitted the clearances for lease deeds execution,” said Mohanty.

A day before the government moved the Supreme Court, the Odisha government sent notices to 18 mines owners, including Tata Steel, Rungta, Aditya Birla company’s Essel Mining and KJS Ahluwalia, asking them to reply as to why their lease renewal applications should not be rejected.

The notices were based on the report of Supreme Court appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC), which has raised several violations against the miners.

The government will take decision on their renewal applications after they reply the show-cause notices satisfactorily, the official added.