'Riyati' policy 2022: Bengal allows minor mineral mining on pvt land

Riyati policy 2022: Bengal allows minor mineral mining on pvt land

kolkata: The state government has come out with a new 'riiyati' policy 2022 that allows private landowners to get a licence to harness natural resources.

The new policy aims to overcome land acquisition hurdles for mining 'minor minerals' and curbing illegal excavation in the state.

The policy will also help enrich government coffers with license fees and royalty, state Industry Minister Shashi Panja said addressing the CII organised Global Mining Summit 2022. The government, she said, "will offer private mining licenses to those holding land".

"The state Cabinet has approved a policy for providing mining licences on private land. The licences will be handed over to the land owners and the onus for clearances and responsible mining will be on them. The policy will be applicable only for minor minerals. The regulations will be ready by December," a senior state government official said.

The minimum area of private land required will be one hectare and individuals can pool their land holdings to carry out such mining activity, the official said.

The policy will be applicable for the mining of black stone, which is available in large quantities in the state, besides other minor minerals like limestone, china clay and quartz, the official said.

Asked about the reason for allowing mining on private land instead of resorting to auctioning of land, the official said: "The state government is against forced land acquisition. This policy overcomes this hurdle very efficiently."

The robust online mechanism introduced by the state government in November 2021, for the excavation and sale of sand has helped it earn a revenue of Rs 200 crore in the financial year 2021-22.

The state government has earned Rs 250 crore from sand mining from April till date and expects that it will reach Rs 350 crore by March 2023.

Chief Secretary HK Dwivedi on Wednesday held a virtual meeting with the district magistrates and apprised them of the new government policy on the mining of minor minerals on private land. The online portal will be launched on December 1.

According to the policy, on receipt of such an application, concerned land department officials will check the documents and authenticity of ownership of land at the field level. It will then send recommendations to the state nodal agency West Bengal Mineral Development and Trading Corporation (WBMDTCL) which shall reject/grant provisional LOI (Letter of Intent) to the raiyat. The raiyat will then submit an amount equal to 1000 times the royalty of the respective minor mineral per hectare before the issuance of a provisional LOI. Based on this LOI, the raiyat will establish the mineable reserve, get a mining plan prepared by a qualified agency and get it approved by a competent authority.

Following this, he will apply for environmental clearance (EC) to the State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority.

After the EC is received, along with all statutory clearances/approvals the raiyat will have to apply for a grant of mining lease.

He will have to pay the residual amount of the mining lease fee after adjusting the amount paid at the time of issuance of the provisional LOI.

The lease shall be granted for 5 years or till the reserve is exhausted, whichever is earlier, with a provision of extension for upto 5 years at a time.

The lessee shall pay royalty, cess and other statutory payments for obtaining the excavation permit. The entire process will be managed through the online portal.

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