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State govt should act within 60 days for mining license renewal

Ministry to introduce amendment to expedite process of license renewal

BS Reporter  |  Kolkata 

The state government has to take decision on the renewal of mining lease within 60 days after the company applies for it. The company can go to the Central government if it does not hear within that time.

The government proposes to introduce this ammendment in Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulations) Act, 1957, and Mineral Concession Rules, 1960 said Union Mines secretary Anup Kumar Pujari on Tuesday.This will replace process of deemed renewals which the Supreme Court declared the process of deemed extensions illegal.

Presently, according to Mineral Concession Rules 1960 Sec 24-A, sub rule 6, “If an application for renewal of a mining lease made within the time referred is not disposed of by the State Government before the expiry of lease, the period of that lease shall be deemed to have been extended by a further period till the State Government passes order thereon.”

The ministry has seeked feedback from the states on the proposed amendment but is yet to get any reply. “We have written to the states and are now waiting for their reply,” said Pujari.

The competetive bidding process for the mines of all minerals will begin by the first week of March and the government intends to amend the Mines and Mineral Development and Regulation (MMDR) act in the ongoing winter session of the Parliament a senior officical of the mining ministry said here on Wednesday.

He said that the process of auction of the mines will begin as soon as the amandments becomes law. "Once the amendments become law, we will begin auction by three months," he said.

Aimed at improving transparency in allocation of mineral resources, government has sought to amend existing Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 to introduce competitive bidding through the auction route for iron ore and other minerals.

"In order to both improve transparency in allocation as well as to ensure a fair share of the value of minerals for the government, the Bill prescribes competitive bidding by auction as the method to be followed for allocation of Mining Leases (MLs) in respect of notified minerals," Mines Ministry said in the draft copy of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Bill, 2014.

The amendments were proposed after the Supreme Court suspended mining activities in many states citing irregularities in allotment process. "We should have a system of allotment which doesn't invite public dissatisfaction. But is it economically the best way is a separate (issue)," he said.

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First Published: Wed, December 03 2014. 20:26 IST