As per Rule 58 of Mineral Concession Rules 1960, a certain track of mineral bearing land was reserved for exclusive use of the state governments. By virtue of a notification, the governments could reserve lands for PSUs.
“Mineral Bearing land, reserved for PSUs for their exclusive use with no mining activity, ultimately leaves valuable resources stranded. A notification should be released by the Centre, declaring all reservations either by the state or central government, wherein no mining activity has commenced, to be de-reserved with immediate effect and the area to be made open for auction by the state within 60 days of issue of such notification”, industry body Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (Ficci) said in its recent submission to planning think-tank NITI Aayog.
In 1988, an amendment was effected in Mines and Minerals- Development & Regulation (MMDR) Act which allowed reservations for PSUs but not without the prior approval of the central government.
Ficci feels that for reservations in the future, the Government of India should hold public consultations before granting approvals. Such reservations, Ficci reasoned should be valid for five years to enable mining extraction to start, else the notification can be rescinded with the land standing de-reserved.