Deemed extension to mining cos: SC stays Centre’s notification

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the Centre’s notification which granted two years as deemed extension to mining companies for carrying out their activities after expiry of the lease period.

The notification enabled those companies to get forest clearance under the Forest Act in non-forest areas also.

A bench headed by Justice A K Patnaik stayed the notification issued by Ministry of Environment and Forests last February after senior advocate Harish Salve who is assisting the court as amicus, submitted that there was rampant violation of law by mining companies.

He said two-year concession was too long a period for mining companies for carrying on with their activities.

It was alleged that there are 590 licencees operating in the forest area but the permission for 350 have already expired.

The Supreme Court directed the Odisha government to set up a special purpose vehicle for the welfare of tribal people in the state who are affected by mining activities.

It asked the government to form a comprehensive plan for tribal development in consultation with the CEC after taking taking into account the needs for health, education, livelihood and other parameters of the local people.