The mining industry in the State can now heave a sigh of relief as the Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) on Wednesday recommended resumption of mining operations in leases that fall under ‘A' category subject to fulfilling of certain conditions.

The CEC's recommendation, if accepted by the Supreme Court at Friday's hearing, will be a big boost to mining companies and steel mills, which are starving of raw material, as 45 mining leases will be benefitted.

The CEC has also made several other recommendations to the Supreme Court regarding payment of exemplary compensation by the mining leases falling in Category B, cancellation and allotment of the mining leases falling in Category C, among others. The apex court is likely to hear the case on Friday.

It is to be noted that, in its report to the apex court on February 3, the CEC had classified the mining leases into three categories — category A, category B and category C — depending on the extent of illegalities.

Mines classified under category C have indulged in major illegalities. While 45 leases classified under category A have not resorted to illegalities or negligible illegalities, 72 leases with minor illegalities have been classified under category B.

The CEC in its report submitted to the Supreme Court on April 18 recommended that the mining operations in respect of the mining leases falling under Category A may be permitted to be restarted after rehabilitation and reclamation plan for the respective mining lease is prepared in accordance with the guidelines approved by the court in its April 13 order. The lessee concerned should give an undertaking to strictly comply with the provisions of rehabilitation and reclamation.

Keywords: mining industry