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The state steel & mines department will issue notices to 83 miners awaiting second and subsequent renewal of their leases within a month. Depending on the merit of cases, the department will either renew the leases or bring ineligible leases under the fold of its PSU- Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC).
The department has seemingly softened its stand after its recent decision to cancel all applications for renewal of leases made between 1987 and 1994.
Last month, the department had decided to bring such leases back to the fold of the state government against the backdrop of an ongoing probe into alleged large scale illegal mining activities in the state by the visiting M B Shah commission of enquiry.
“We will issue notices to the lessees awaiting second and subsequent renewal within a month. There are 83 leases and all of them will be given hearing by the government. We will dispose off the cases depending on their merit. If lessees are found to be ineligible for renewal, such mines will be brought under OMC’s leasehold,” said director (mines) Deepak Mohanty.
The state government’s decision to bring all mines that were not renewed between 1987 and 1994 under the fold of OMC had sparked off resentment among the private miners who feared losing their leases. Besides, it had also triggered concerns among end-use industries regarding raw material supplies.
Admitting concerns of a dip in production and raw material problems of local industries, steel & mines secretary Rajesh Verma said, “Our recent notification has raised concerns about fall in production output as well as availability of raw materials for local industries. We are working out modalities to ensure how best we can meet the raw material needs of end-use industries.”
Echoing similar sentiments, Mohanty said, “For merchant mines, we discussed on how their surplus production can be sold to end-use industries after meeting the captive consumption of lessees, if any. The modalities for supply of ore from such mines to the local industries will be worked out.”
The steel & mines department through its notification dated October 3 this year stated that second and subsequent renewals cannot be claimed as a matter of right. “There must be sufficient reasons to say that such renewal is in the interest of mineral development. Captive mining and the principle of equitable distribution, among others, would be considered as guiding factors forsuch renewal except for lessees held by a company or corporation owned or controlled by the Central or state government,” the notification stated.