Panel to sort out 318 stuck mining proposals
Fearing massive litigation, the Centre has asked mineral producing states to set up a committee so that they can quickly grant mining leases for the 318 proposals stuck at various levels.
These 318 cases are unique as the proposals were in process even before January 2015, when the new mining law came into effect, either with the state government or the Centre. The new law has stated that in such cases, the mining lease must be granted to the company within two years January, 2017.
The new Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015, has stipulated that all licenses henceforth would be granted through only auctions by the respective state governments. However, if any company was issued a letter of intent by the state under the old law, the licence for that block should be granted by January 2017. If any mining proposal has been approved by a state government under the earlier law but got stuck with the Centre, the licence must be issued by January 2017.
This deadline of January 2017 has got the central government worried, as the companies would be knocking the doors of various courts to get their licences.
“For avoiding this delay, it has been decided by the Union mines ministry that a three-member committee should be constituted for each state, to thoroughly scrutinize the saved proposals before sending it to the ministry of mines,” said a central government letter to the states.
Mines Secretary Balwinder Kumar said operations at 70-80 mines have not started as these were awaiting clearances from the Environment Ministry. He said that the ministry was in talks with the MoEF to expedite the clearances.