Centre urged to send expert panel to study State’s unique mining culture

January 20, 2015 12:00 am | Updated 05:42 am IST - BENGALURU:

The State government has urged the Centre to despatch an expert committee to study mining of ore and other mineral deposits before formulating rules for allocating iron ore mines through the auction route.

Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T.B. Jayachandra, who participated in a meeting chaired by Union Minister for Mines and Steel Narendra Singh Tomar in Delhi on Monday, told The Hindu that he had opposed formulating uniform rules across the country. Each State had its own problems with regard to mining and the Centre should allow States to exercise their rights while auctioning mines.

Mr. Jayachandra said the State had rich deposits of iron ore and illegal mining was an issue in the State. To examine issues, including Supreme Court directives on the issue, the Centre should despatch an expert panel to the State, he said. The State government had urged Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd. (MECL) to frame rules for auctioning ‘C’ category mines. But the MECL is yet to frame rules. Following this delay, there was an inordinate delay at various levels in processing applications for the renewal of mining leases in Karnataka. The Minister also urged the Centre to frame rules, after placing the ordinance during the next session of Parliament.

The Centre had identified 199 mines containing minerals such as iron ore, bauxite and manganese in different States that can be allocated through the auction route. The Centre had issued Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015, for the auction of mines.

“The Centre cannot take away the State’s rights by issuing the ordinance and uniformly framing rules for the entire country. The Centre has agreed to my suggestion,” Mr Jayachandra said, adding that the State had been facing severe shortage of sand as well, which was severely affecting the construction industry, and permission had been given to 55 companies to produce manufactured sand.

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