Pre-embedded Statutory Clearances on Pilot Basis for Expiring Mines in Odisha

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By Our Business Affairs Bureau

NEW DELHI/BHUBANESWAR/JODA/KOIRA: With Union Steel Ministry headed by Odisha’s Dharmendra Pradhan, apart from his PNG Ministry, with this eastern Indian State, one of the top rated contributors of minerals, both Steel and Union Mines Ministry has been in close coordination and requested the Naveen Patnaik led BJD Government to go for auction of mines with pre-embedded statutory clearances on pilot basis in order to make auction of mineral blocks more attractive, highly placed sources in State’s Steel and Mines Department said on Thursday.

As the lease period of 46 non-captive working Mines are expiring on 31 March, 2020 under Section 8A(6) of the MMDR Act, these mines are to be reallocated after auction under the provision of MMDR Act.In fact these mines contribute towards significant production of metals like iron ore, manganese and chromite, required for steel production. Besides Odisha, two Union Ministries have also been touch with other mineral bearing States like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.

The Union Ministry of Mines keeping the need of Union Steel Ministry has requested the other concerned Ministries to expedite the process of providing clearances to successful bidders for these mines to ensure uninterrupted supply of raw material to the industries. While all the concerned Ministries have been requested to speed up the processing of fresh issue of clearances for these mines, State Government has also urged to follow suit.

The issue of pre-embedded statutory clearances also is one of the action points in Vision-2024 being finalized in the Government of India Committee chaired by Prime Minister.Official sources said as per the rules, for execution of a Mining Lease, a successful Bidder are required to obtain 20 clearances and approvals. Out of 20 approvals, Union Government will provide nine while rest 11 will be extended by the State Government.

Time required to obtain these clearances takes 2-3 years and the successful bidder will not be in a position to go for commencement of mining operations as soon as it gets the permission.As the State Government is the owner of the minerals, the entire process can be streamlined by making the State Government as applicant for Central Government clearances.Environment and Forest Clearances are the two major statutory requirements for commencement of mining operations, officials said.

Senior officials of Ministry of Environment and Forest said that the State Government paying requisite fees for such clearances will apply which wil help expedite the process. The fees required for clearances can be built into the auction fees, said the official.In fact the State Governments have agreed in this regard in the Coordination Committee Meeting held recently to put mineral blocks into auction with Pre-Embedded Clearances.This will make the auction process more attractive and pave the way for higher investment, especially Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

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