BJD opposes MMDR (Amendment) Bill in LS

Bhubaneswar: Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today opposed the Bills on mines and minerals as well as coal mining, which were tabled in Lok Sabha by Mines minister Piyus Goel today.

Participating in the debate, BJD leader in the Lower House Bhartruhari Mahtab said his party is not against auction of coal mines per se but it opposes the manner in which decisions have been taken in this regard without consulting the concerned States.

Speaking to media persons earlier in the day, he had said, “We have raised objections to certain provision of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015. The Centre has unilaterally decided on these issues without consulting the State government.”

In the Mining ordinance that came into effect on January 12, the provision of renewal of mining leases was done away with and instead, automatic renewal was granted to all merchant mining leases till 2020 and for captive mines up to 2030 under Sections 8 (A) 5 and 8 (A) 6 of the ordinance.

The State government’s contention is what it should do with the pending renewal applications, because as per a Supreme Court order in May last year, it has to take a decision whether to accept or reject the renewal applications. Besides, just ahead of the Central ordinance, the State government had decided to cancel the lapsed leases and auction them to boost its revenue collections.

On February 24 last, when Steel and Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar introduced the Bill, BJD members opposed some of its provisions saying they infringed upon the rights of the States.

The Coal Mining (Special Provisions) Bill will also be tabled in the Lok Sabha later in the day.