Media reports suggest that 215 mines in Orissa are being operated on a “deemed renewal” basis at present.
Recently, the state steel and mines department issued showcause notices to holders of 103 leases because of excess mining of iron ore and manganese to the tune of Rs 68,000 crore between 2000 and 2010. All the 103 leases are said to be deemed renewed, reports suggest.
In Goa, the deemed extension of mining leases was at the heart of a mining scam and the same is true for Orissa, reports indicate. The deemed renewal of a lease allows the holder to continue extracting ore even after the expiry of the lease, while it waits for renewal.
In September this year, the MB Shah Commission pointed out how over 60 mines in Goa were on a “deemed extension” and led to illegal mining.
Deemed renewal is granted under rule 24A(6) of the Mineral Concession Rules, 1960. Under the rule, the miner’s application for renewal of his lease should be pending with the government before expiry.
It is also necessary for miners to have all statutory clearances under the Forest Conservation Act, the Environment Protection Act, the Wildlife Protection Act, the Water Act and the Air Pollution Act when seeking and being granted a deemed extension.
A central empowered committee of the Supreme Court, which probed violations of several provisions of FC Act during its investigation into the Orissa mining scam in 2010, found that 215 mines did not receive their leases renewed for 10 to 20 years and continued on a deemed renewal basis.