The guidelines issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on February 1 may delay the process of renewing mining leases by the Odisha government.
The Orissa High Court asked the state government to dispose of the application pending for renewal of mining lease within three months in December 2012. The government had sought three more months to clear the pending applications by June 15.
The state government decided to consult the Law department and the centre on renewal of 55 out of 59 working mines.
This is because the MoEF guideline categorically stated that all the operating mines must have full forest diversion clearance in order to get renewal of mine lease permission. However, of the 59 operational mines in the state, 55 have only partial forest diversion clearance.
Therefore, the state government would seek clarification from the Law department and the MoEF on renewal of these 55 mines.
Meanwhile, the MoEF had allowed two years to the miners to obtain diversion of the entire forest land within their leasehold area.
If the miners fail to adhere to the guidelines of MoEF, they will have to surrender the portion of the lease area where forest diversion has not been obtained.