A state government committee constituted to look into pending cases of mines lease renewal has recommended reissue of mines lease in five cases including two mines of Tata Steel after fulfilling certain conditions, government officials said today.
The fives mines are Guruda manganese mines and Manmore iron ore mines of Tata Steel, Thakurani iron ore lease of KayPee group, Roida mines block belonging to K N Ram and Mesco Steel. The committee has recommended that the lease renewal of these mines be expedited soon after complying with the conditions imposed by it.
“The conditions include total diversion of forest land inside lease area, payment of penalty imposed for excess mining and getting prior approval for using tribal land,” said a source in the steel and mines department.
The officials, however, declined to comment on the time period for expediting the process. “We can not comment on the time period. But the cases will be cleared within time period stipulated by the Supreme Court or before that,” said J K Mohapatra, chief secretary of state government.
The Supreme Court, while ordering suspension of mining activities in 26 mines of the state running under deemed extension, had said, the state government must take steps to expedite the pending lease renewal cases within six months from May 16.
These mines were seeking second and subsequent renewal of their leases and were working under the deemed lease renewal clause. The court maintains that automatic renewal of leases after first renewal is illegal.
Officials in directorate of mines said, the recommendations of lease renewals were sent before the Supreme Court order came last week.
“The committee had already recommended the case of the five leases to the government before the SC order. We are working on another 21 leases,” said Deepak Mohanty, state director of mines.
In October 2012, the state government had formed a 12-member committee to expedite the process of mines lease renewal. The committee was formed after an executive order issued by state government said, henceforth, the renewal of lease will be considered on the basis of contribution of the mines to mineral development in the state.
The high-level committee to expedite the pending lease renewal applications is headed by the state Chief Secretary, with senior officials from steel and mines department, forest and environment department, mines directorate, pollution control board, principal conservator of forest and from Orissa Space Application Centre (ORSAC) as members.