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E-way to keep Uttar Pradesh mining mafia at bay

Virendra Singh Rawat  |  New Delhi/ Lucknow 

Uttar Pradesh, which has about 4,000 mines of coal, silica, bauxite and granite – mostly in Bundelkhand region, has mandated e-tendering for future allotment of mining leases in the state.

This step is aimed at preventing hitherto rampant illegal mining and ushering transparency in allotment of mining leases.

Under the system, lease holder will have to get environment clearance for mining within 6 months if the land area is more than 5 hectares (ha), whereas, in case of lease for mining of area of less than 5 hectares, environment clearance will not be required.

“There were complaints of unfair influence of mining mafia in allotment of mining contracts and hence the chief minister took the initiative of introducing IT driven mining lease deed allotment to make it transparent and fair,” state Infrastructure and Industrial Development Commissioner (IIDC) Anil K Gupta said.

The state has actively been taking the electronic route in departments to make governance transparent, efficient and corruption free.

The e-tendering mechanism has already come into force and all new mine lease allotments will be through e-tendering. For ongoing mining contracts, leasee/contractors shall have to get environment clearance by August of 2012.

“Reforms is an ongoing process and mining department is no exception. The private sector has evoked enthusiastic response towards e-tendering,” UP principal secretary geology and mining department Jivesh Nandan told Business Standard. In the current fiscal, the department is targetting higher revenues of Rs 954 crore, up from about Rs 660 crore in 2011-12.

Through research, the department had proved over 213 million tonnes (MT) of cement grade limestone reserves in Sonbhadra, besides 24 MT of probable reserves of silica sand deposits in Allahabad and Chitrakoot districts. About 6 MT rock phosphate reserves had also been proved in Lalitpur district.

Meanwhile, the department had not offered any fresh prospecting license to any private company. “UP is not really a mineral rich state and we are relatively insignificant in the mining space,” Nandan observed.

Some years back, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) had been given prospecting licenses for oil and natural gas in sub-Himalayan region of UP.

Besides, the government had also issued three-year prospecting licenses spanning about 1,000 hectares to world’s leading diamond firm De Beers to search for diamond, platinum and gold in Bundelkhand region comprising Lalitpur, Jhansi and Sonebhadra districts.

The south-eastern region of UP comprising Mirzapur and Sonbhadra districts have good potential for base metal and gold, industrial mineral like china

First Published: Tue, July 24 2012. 00:06 IST