The Orissa government has set in motion the process of renewal of mining leases of as many as 53 miners in the state. The renewal of mining leases of these firms, which will be dealt on a case to case basis, is expected to be completed by the end of the current financial year.
There are 351 cases of renewal of mining leases in the state out of which 41 had not applied for approval as they are on the verge of closure.
Of the remaining 320 cases, the operations of 103 mining firms have been suspended and only 53 cases are under consideration of the state government for renewal. The remaining firms are either not in operations or lack the statutory clearances needed for renewal.
“Presently, we are scrutinizing 51 cases for renewal of mining leases. The renewal process will be decided on a case to case basis. Out of these 53 firms, there are 28 cases which do not have the requisite forest clearance and these firms need to pay the Net Present Value (NPV) for diversion of forest land for mining activities. There are 10 other cases which have Temporary Work Permit (TWP) and are awaiting the Stage-II forest clearance and even these firms need to pay the NPV”, an official source told Business Standard.
Among the 53 cases of renewal of mining lease, there are two cases sub judice with the Supreme Court of India while other cases of renewal pertain to mining activities being carried out on non-forest land.
The renewal of mining leases hinges on several factors like environmental clearance, forest clearance or payment of NPV, pending litigation and settlement of outstanding dues.
The value of NPV for mining activities has been estimated at Rs 1900 crore for mining activities in the state of which Rs 800 crore has to be paid by the state owned Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) which holds lease over vast areas of land for minerals like iron ore, bauxite and chromite.
The collection of NPV is underway and the deadline for the same has been fixed for July 24 this year. As per a Supreme Court order, the lessees are required to pay the Net Present Value (NPV) of the forests for the entire lease area in case of allotment of Mining Lease (ML) and also Renewal Mining Lease (RML).
Though the order came in 2002, this was not being adhered to till the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) of the apex court pointed out this anomaly during the hearing on a case related to rampant illegal mining in the state recently.
The CEC in its interim report has recommended for collection of NPV of trees in the forest land in the entire lease area. The rate has been fixed at Rs 6 lakh per hectare.