The meeting of the central coordination cum empowered committee (CEC) convened by the Union mines ministry to discuss amendment proposed to Rule-37 of Mineral Concession Rules (MCR)-1960 remained inconclusive with mineral bearing states yet to submit their comments.
The Odisha government said, it will furnish its views to the ministry in 7-10 days.
“There was no decision on the proposed amendment to Rule-37 of MCR-1960. We will be submitting our views to the Central mines ministry in 7-10 days. After all mineral bearing states submit their views, the ministry will refer the matter to the Union law ministry,” said Odisha mines director Deepak Mohanty. On concerns raised by industry associations on higher royalty charged by the Odisha government, he said, “The Union mines ministry had asked us to withdraw our circular since it was not in consonance with Rule- 64 (B) of MCR. The Central mines secretary has said that the matter will be resolved by the royalty committee.”
It may be noted, industry associations had raised concerns on the practice of the Odisha government in assessing and levying royalty on higher value of either iron ore lump or processed form of lump or the iron ore fines generated during processing of ore. This was done by the state government through a circular dated September 7, 2010.
The amendment to Rule-37 of MCR-1960 assumes significance in the context of Odisha where eight mine owners have been issued show cause notices on the statutory violation.
Presently, Rule-37 of Mineral Concession Rules debars any lessee to assign, sub-let, mortgage or in any other manner transfer the mining lease or any right, title or interest therein without previous written consent of the state government.
According to the proposed amendment, a bonafide arrangement, contract or understanding between the lessee and any other person or body of persons or a company shall not be construed as financing to a substantial extent or substantial control of lease if four conditions are fulfilled. Besides Rule-37 amendment, steps taken by states to prevent illegal mining, implementation of Rule-45 of Mineral Conservation Development Rules (MCDR)-1988, mining tenement system, framing of model state mineral policies and royalty issues were discussed in the CEC meet.