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Odisha forest department kept in dark on mining lease status
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Sunday, 02 Dec 2012
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Business Line reported that at a time when the state government's tough stance on renewal of mining leases has come under attack from the mining fraternity, the lack of communication between forest and mining departments on status of mine leases has complicated the matters.

The state forest & environment department has pointed finger at department of mines for not ensuring availability of information on changes in validity, ownership and area of mining leases.

In the absence of such information, the F&E department is finding it tough to process the proposals for forest diversion at the time of lease renewal and issue of temporary working permission.

Mr BP Singh special secretary (forest & environment) wrote to Mr Rajesh Verma principal secretary of steel & mines said that “Changes in the validity, ownership and area of mining leases effected by the steel & mines department are often not made available to F&E department. As such in order to facilitate the process of obtaining forest clearance/temporary working permission in respect of such leases having forest land, the steel & mines department may intimate detailed information to the F&E department, principal chief conservator of forests Odisha, regional chief conservator of forests and concerned divisional forest officers.”

The F&E department has sought information on current lease status including suspension, keeping in abeyance, revocation, expiry of validity, determination, processing of lapsing proposals and other modification in leases including revision of mining lease area.

It has also asked the steel & mines department to ensure that transfer of leases with forest land from one user agency to another is allowed and transfer lease deed executed subsequently only with prior permission of Union ministry of environment & forests as provided under para 2.8 of Forest Conservation Act.

Moreover, the department has sought copies of proceedings, letter of intent, grant orders and lease deed executed for the leases having forest land. Whenever there is change of ownership, the new lessee should not be allowed to operate until the lessee obtains permission from MoEF under Forest Conservation Act for the entire forest land coming within the lease area along with fulfillment of other statutory clearances.

The F&E department has asked the mines directorate to take steps for suspension of mining operations in cases where full net present value is not paid. NPV is paid by the miner for diversion of forest land for mining activities.

Source - Business Standard


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