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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Shah Commission seeks info on lease renewals in Orissa

Saturday, 31 Dec 2011

BS reported that after inspection of illegal mining activities in Orissa during its six day visit, Justice M B Shah Commission of enquiry has sought updated information on status of prospecting license applications, renewal of mining leases and position of mining lease boundaries.

Chief Secretary Mr BK Patnaik said that "The Shah commission has sought latest information on status of PL applications, digitization of mining lease boundaries and renewal of mining leases in the state. We will provide the necessary information to the commission.”

As many as 344 applications for renewal of mining lease are pending at different levels. While 219 RML applications are pending at the government level, the pendency at the collectorate and directorate levels stands at 110 and 15 respectively. The steel & mines department had rejected RML cases of over 40 lessees lacking all statutory clearances.

Meanwhile, 51 lessees are operating their mines under deemed extension. The list of mines operating under deemed extension includes TATA Steel, Ferro Alloys Corporation Ltd, Essel Mining & Industries Ltd Mid-East Integrated Steel, Patnaik Minerals Ltd, RP Sao, Rungta Mines and OCL India among others.

Regarding digitization of mine lease boundaries, the state government claimed to have completed nearly 80 per cent of the work.

Prior to its visit to Orissa, the independent commission had sought information four times on various aspects and the state steel & mines department had complied with the same.

Besides seeking a detailed list of all lessees and their addresses, the probe panel in its last query had demanded information from the steel & mines department on alleged violation of Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act, 1957 and Mineral Concession Rules-1960 by Patnaik Minerals Private Ltd in the Joda circle.

During its visit to the state from December 7-13, the nine-member commission led by Justice Shah, former justice of the Supreme Court, had held discussions with top officials. The commission had urged the government to curb production so as to ensure that the finite mineral resource is left for future generations.

It had stressed on earmarking more funds by lessees for peripheral development. The commission, on the whole, had expressed satisfaction over the steps taken by the government but hinted at the involvement of bureaucrats in illegal mining activities

(Sourced from BS)

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