Bhubaneswar, Nov 11: The Odisha government has issued notices to 18 mining firms including Tata Steel and Aditya Birla asking them to reply why their application for lease renewal should not be rejected.
The steel and mines department of the state has sought the reply from the miners within a month.
It should be noted that these mines were among 26 mines that were shut down following an order by the Supreme Court in May this year. However, the state government had allowed 8 mines including Tata steel, Odisha Mining Corporation and SAIL to operate on certain conditions including furnishing of environment and forest clearances within three months, which was extended to November 15.
"We have sent notices to the 18 mines with reference to Section 26 (1) of Mineral Concession Rules (refusal of lease renewal) asking them why their mining lease renewal applications should not be rejected," Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Mallick told a news agency.
The Odisha government will have to submit a report to the Supreme Court by Nov 15 about the fate of the mines. Therefore, it has taken the step before it appears to the court.
The apex court in its May 16 order directed the government to expedite the 26 pending applications within six months and asked them to halt mining operation at these mines running under deemed extension.
"We have allowed operation of the mines of Tata steel and SAIL through express order because these are the captive mines. For the other 18 mines, most of them are merchant mines so we are considering the renewal of these leases and it would take time," said a senior official of the department, declining to be named.
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