Bhubaneswar, Feb 3:
The Eastern Zone Mining Association (EZMA) Tuesday urged the Odisha government to expedite the process of opening 18 merchant mines having all statutory clearances in the state.
The mining association said it requested the government to expedite the process of examining the mines and recommend to the central government to operationalise the eligible mines having all statutory clearances.
“The mining ordinance promulgated by the Centre has extended the operation of working non-captive mines to March 2020. So, the government should expedite the process of examining the closed mines and recommend resumption of eligible mines,” said Prabodh Mohanty, secretary of EZMA, after meeting Chief Secretary G.C. Pati here.
The Supreme Court May 16 last year asked the state government to halt mining in 26 mines which were waiting for second and subsequent renewal, saying that automatic renewal of mines lease after 20 years of first renewal was illegal.
However, the government opened eight mines of Tata steel, SAIL and Odisha Mining Corporation following an express order while no decision has been taken on the remaining 18 mines.
“…In view of the MMDR Ordinance, 2015, we would request that these mines should be allowed to resume operation immediately,” said the memorandum submitted to the government.
The mining association also urged the government to seek a leave of the apex court to resume the closed 102 mines, once they obtain all statutory clearances.
“The chief secretary assured that the government is examining these mines on case to case basis. Once the rules of the ordinance are framed, the government will recommend accordingly,” said Mohanty.
However, sources said that the government will seek direction from the Supreme Court on the 18 merchant mines. IANS