In a bid to check illegal mining, the State Government has decided to cancel the lease of certain mines, whose renewal was due between February 1987 and September 1994 by changing some provisions in the Mining Concession Rules, 1960.
Official sources said the State Government has also prior approval of the Centre for renewal of lease before December 20, 1999. Therefore, renewal made in violation of this provision before this date would be invalid.
The Principal Secretary in the Steel and Mines Department has asked the director of mines to identify such leases. The Secretary has also directed the director to suspend the operation of any such mines if those are functional now.
The Director has also been asked to furnish a report to the government within 15 days giving details of cases where renewal of mining lease has been deemed to have been refused during February 10, 1987 to September 25, 1994.
The director would deal in the case where the renewal application was not made at least 12 months before the date on which the lease was due to expire between February 10, 1987 to September 25, 1994, Where prior approval of the Central Government for renewal of mining lease was not obtained as required prior to December 20, 2012.
As per the changes, the Government would cancel the lease if the first renewal application made within the specified time frame did not receive its order within one year from the date on which the lease was due to expire. In such cases, the lease cannot be renewed on any later date.
In case of a second or subsequent renewal application, the same shall be deemed to have been refused if not disposed of within six months of its receipt. In such cases, the lease would be cancelled on the expiry of the period for which the earlier renewal was granted.
The State Government has maintained that the mining lease operating in violation of the rules should be treated as operating without lawful authority from the date of renewal application was deemed to have been refused.
“Such mines should be taken over by the State Government. The ore extracted during the period of such unlawful occupation may be seized or market price thereof recovered, if the ore is disposed of,” the Secretary said in the order.
The State made specific rules for renewal of mining lease after the Opposition Congress alleged that more than 80 iron ore mines were operating in the State under the category of ‘deemed to’.
The mine owners whose applications for renewal of mines were neither accepted nor rejected had been considered as “deemed to” be renewed according to old practice.