SC seeks Centre’s response on leases to operate mines

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By Moderator July 5, 2019 12:07

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The Supreme Court on Thursday gave the Union government four weeks’ time to respond to a petition filed by advocate M.L. Sharma to quash the allotment, extension or continuation of leases for firms to operate 358 iron ore mines across the country.

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  • Petitioner advocate M L Sharma contended that mining leases were granted or extended without following the due procedure in law.
  • The petitioner has claimed that leases have been either granted or extended to the firms for mining iron ores in over 358 mines without either any fresh evaluation or adopting the auction process.
    • The plea has alleged that in February this year leases were extended in exchange of “large donations” to political parties which has created a “serious financial loss” to the tune of Rs 4 trillion to public exchequer.
    • Goa has the greatest number of such mines at 160, that are headed for expiry. In Karnataka and Odisha, such mining leases are 45 and 31 respectively. Most of these mines are under control of Vedanta group and Tata Group of the companies.
  • It has also sought directions for recovery of market value of the mined minerals in accordance with the law.
  • Besides, it has sought a court-monitored probe into the extension of lease and allotment of the mineral mines for free of cost alleging that it had caused huge financial loss to the public via a concocted conspiracy.
  • The plea has also sought quashing of section 8A of the MMDR (Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation) Act.
    • Section 8-A of the Act provides that all mining lease should be granted for 50 years and on expiry of lease period, it should be put up for auction as per the procedure specified in the Act.

Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act

  • The Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act (1957) is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to regulate the mining sector in India. It was amended in 2015 and 2016. This act forms the basic framework of mining regulation in India
  • This act is applicable to all mineral except coal, minor minerals and atomic minerals.
  • It details the process and conditions for acquiring a mining or prospecting licence in India.
    • Mining minor minerals comes under the purview of state governments.
    • River sand is considered a minor mineral
    • For mining and prospecting in forest land, prior permission is needed from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/sc-seeks-centres-response-on-leases-to-operate-mines/article28289796.ece

Moderator
By Moderator July 5, 2019 12:07