HC asks state govt to dispose of pending mining applications

Cuttack: The Orissa High Court on Friday asked the state government to dispose of all the pending applications for renewal of mining leases which are in order within three months.

"In case some applications are not in proper order, notify the applicants to rectify the same within three months for enabling them to be disposed of otherwise reject them," the Division Bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B N Mohapatra said in its order.

The High Court on Wednesday had asked the State government not to give effect to a controversial clause of Mineral Concession Rules of 1960 without the leave of the court and accordingly had asked the State government to file a counter to the petition which had challenged the clause 24 (A) 6 of the Rules that was amended in 1990.

On Friday when Advocate General Ashok Mohanty sought a clarification on the impact on Wednesday's ruling, the Division Bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B N Mohapatra expressed its anguish saying "we are extremely disturbed over the pending applications for renewal of mining leases" and verbally observed that the State Government was "deliberately delaying disposal of renewal applications."

To this, when the AG sought a direction to the State government for disposal of the pending renewal applications, the High Court immediately fixed deadlines for the same.