Special Correspondent

State makes it mandatory to demarcate mining lease area

HYDERABAD: The Forest Department has renewed the Kothagudem mining lease to Singareni Collieries Company Ltd., for 1,174 hectares in Kothagudem forest division of Khammam district.

Though the SCCL sought approval for 2,338 hectares in 1999, the Forest Department had reduced the area significantly before forwarding the proposal to the Union government which, in turn, gave a conditional approval.

In its order (GO Ms. 18) renewing the lease issued on Saturday, the government made it mandatory for demarcation of the mining lease area.

The demarcation assumes significance in the light of the controversy surrounding the iron ore mines at Obulapuram in Anantapur district where the lessees allegedly encroached upon the areas, particularly designated forest land, not under the purview of their lease.

Prohibitions

The order made it clear that the government should charge the lease holders for renewal of proposed forest area and the amount deposited in the Central government account.

The order prohibits indiscriminate tree felling and damage to flora and fauna of the area and the SCCL should take up afforestation in the blanks lying in the leased areas in addition to the specified forest cover works within the 100 metre radius inside reserve forest.

It would be the responsibility of the company to take up de-silting of the village tanks within five km area from the mine lease boundary for mitigating the impact of siltation of such tanks whenever required.