The Directorate of Mines on Monday informed the Supreme Court appointed Centrally Empowered Committee (CEC) that it has completed the process of lease renewal of 40 mines, which are working under deemed extension provision.
“The CEC queried about the status of mines operating under deemed extension provision. We informed them that we have sent recommendation letters for 40 mines out of 50 working under deemed extension basis. Rest of the cases will be expedited soon,” said Deepak Mohanty, after his meeting with CEC officials here on Monday.
The CEC, in its report in April 2010, had pointed out the misuse of deemed extension’ clause in Odisha under Rules 24-A (6) of Mineral Concession Rules (MCR)-1960 and had criticized the government for sitting over mining lease renewal applications for as long as 10 years.
As per MC Rules, if the state government does not process a lease renewal application filed one year before of date of lease expiry, then the miner can continue to operate the mine even after lease expiry, which will be considered as deemed extension of lease validity.
According to information given by minister for steel & mines Rajanikant Singh in the state assembly last week, mine owners like Tata Steel, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL), Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC), Essel Mining & Industries Ltd (EMIL), Mid East Integrated Steel Ltd, Ferro Alloys Corporation (FACOR), Rungta Sons and KJS Ahluwalia are operating their leases under deemed extension.
The CEC also asked about the status of other pending lease renewal cases, not coming under deemed extension provision. The state government informed them that since 2010, 115 cases have been disposed off so far out of 351 cases in total and the rest 236 cases will be expedited soon.
“We told them about the committee formed by the state government to expedite the lease renewal cases,” said Mohanty.
Apart from the CEC, the state government was also criticised by Opposition
Congress and Shah Commission over inordinate delay in processing lease renewal applications.
In October this year, the state government formed a 12-member committee to expedite the process of mines lease renewal. It has decided that henceforth, mines meant only for mineral development would be applicable for renewal of lease through an executive order.
The high-level committee to expedite the pending applications is headed by the state Chief Secretary, with senior officials from steel and mines department, forest and environment department, mines directorate, pollution control board, principle conservator of forest and from Orissa Space Application Centre (ORSAC) as members.
The CEC, which also inspected illegal mining cases in Karnataka, asked the state government to fine tune the modalities of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) formed by the government and use half of the funds contributed by the miners towards net present value of the trees cut for mining activity for development of mineral bearing areas.
“We have formed the SPV with a kitty of Rs 801 crore for the development of mineral bearing areas. The CEC suggested us to make some modification in the SPV in line with Karnataka,” informed Mohanty.