Centre asks states to expedite 63,946 pending mines leases

Centre asks states to expedite 63,946 pending mines leases
‘As many as 63,946 applications for various mining concessions are pending with states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Tamil Nadu. These states have been asked to fast-track disposal of these leases,’ a Mines Ministry official said.

The Ministry has already asked these states to apply provisions of the Mines and Mineral Development and Regulation Act (MMDR Act)) to dispose of cases besides putting in place a ‘transparent lease disposal system.’

Only Odisha and Karnataka have initiated steps to put in place a transparent IT system for granting lease so far, the official said adding, ‘no concrete action has been taken for this by a large number of states.’

It is a matter of concern that of the total applications, 43,216 are pending for mining leases (ML), 20,088 for prospecting licences (PL) and 645 for reconnaissance permits (RP) with these states.

As per the rules, there are provisions for disposal of RP within six months; PL within nine months and ML within 12 months. The ML is granted for undertaking operations for extracting minerals while PL is granted for undertaking operations for purpose of exploring. RP, on the other hand is granted for preliminary prospecting of a mineral through regional, aerial and geophysical surveys.

The Centre has also asked the states to refer to a Supreme Court order of September 2010, known as Sandur case, ‘which clearly explains the applicability of different provisions of the MMDR Act, 1957, in processing mineral concession proposals’ for virgin areas, previously held areas, and non-notified areas.

Also, it said there is considerable delay on the part of the state governments in sending proposals for prior approval of the central government in respect of virgin areas. As per sources, clearances to leases have slowed down due to a host of reasons, including spurt in illegal mining cases. About one lakh cases of illegal mining are reported annually in the country.



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