Odisha govt to dispose mining renewal lease within 3-months

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government on Thursday said it would dispose all applications pertaining to renewal of mining leases within three months as directed by the Orissa High Court.

"We have already started the process of disposing pending mining lease renewal applications," director of mines Deepak Kumar Mohanty told reporters after the state government reviewed the status of pending applications.

The state government swung into action after Orissa High Court on its December 21 order asked the state government to clear all the pending cases pertaining to renewal of mining leases within three months.

The High Court Division Bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B N Mohapatra on December 21 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."

Claiming that state government was working on disposal of applications, Mohanty said there are 323 applications seeking renewal of mining lease. Of 323 cases, 50 mines were being operated on deemed renewal category. Meanwhile, the state government has recommended the application of mining lease for approval to the Centre, he said.

Mohanty said one has to be careful before disposing the case as matters like forest clearance, environment clearance and other factors are closely linked to the process.

"We have asked officials to expeditiously dispose the mining lease applications to meet the High Court deadline," he said.

Sources said Odisha government was considering mining renewal applications keeping in view an October Circular where it decided not to renew mines which did not have captive use in the state. Mohanty, however, could not specify the number of mines which were not linked to captive use in the state.

This apart, Mohanty said the mines lessesse who have not annexed required documents with main applications are asked to fulfil the criteria under the MMDR Act to help the state government to dispose pending applications of mines renewal.

"If they comply within the stipulated period, their applications will be taken for consideration," he said adding the state government will soon issue notices to mines owners who have applied for second and subsequent mining leases.

Anyway, sources said, the state government was working towards finalisation of mining lease applications by March.

"The mines whose renewal applications are accepted will be informed and those rejected will be told about status of their cases. There will be no pending case before," a senior officer in the Steel and Mines department said.