Miners yield to Odisha govt threat;10 lease holders ink suppl lease deeds

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 6:

Yielding to the threat from the Odisha government that it will examine alternatives if the 29 mines allowed extension of their lease deeds failed to sign supplementary lease deeds within 90 days, at least 10 mining companies Tuesday executed supplementary lease deeds in Sundargarh district and some more mining companies operating in the Joda circle in Keonjhar district will be doing so on Wednesday.

Mines Mining“Ten mines lease holders of Koida circle have executed supplementary lease deeds with the government,” said Bhupinder Singh Poonia, collector Sundargarh to the media on Tuesday.

“Some more mining companies operating in the Joda circle of Keonjhar district would be executing supplementary lease deeds tomorrow,” said Deepak Mohanty, director of Mines on Tuesday.

The state government had recently sent letters to 29 mines, 21 merchant miners and 8 captive mines, to resume operation in their closed mines after entering into fresh agreement.

The mines lease holders’ were however, reluctant for executing supplementary lease deeds citing excess stamp duty on them.

Rules prescribe for payment of seven per cent of the average value of their mining (mineral excavation) plan as stamp duty by the mines companies.

It may be recalled here that the state government had amended its Stamp Duty Act in 2013, empowering it to collect the duty from mines which did not have a proper lease deed but were operating as per provisional clearance called ‘deemed extension’.

Since the deemed extension clause has been removed in the new Mines and Minerals- Development & Regulation (MMDR) Act-2015, the state government has to collect dues from extended lease deeds.

All these 29 mines were closed in view of the Supreme Court judgment as their second and subsequent renewal applications had not been accepted by the government.

The state government had extended the lease period of 29 iron ore, manganese, limestone and dolomite mines as per the provision of the MMDR (Amendment) Act, 2015.

Steel and Mines minister Prafulla Mallick had on Monday talking to reporters said: “If the companies did not sign lease deeds, the State government would think of ‘alternative procedure’.”

“We are certain that they (mines companies) will sign supplementary lease deeds as they will also benefit from resumption of mining activities,” he added.

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