NMDC lease cancellation: Mines tribunal stays order

NMDC lease cancellation: Mines tribunal stays order

The Mines Tribunal under the ministry of mines on Wednesday stayed the impugned order of the Karnataka government cancelling the lease extension of NMDC Ltd.

The state government, in its order dated August 17, 2019, had cancelled the mining lease extension of NMDC and had ordered for immediate e-auction of the mines spread over 597 hectares.

The Tribunal headed by Anil Kumar Nayak, joint secretary, and revisionary authority, held the hearing following an application by NMDC challenging the order of the state government.

During the hearing, the representative of the Revisionist (NMDC) stated that they had provided a copy of the Revision Application to the state government on August 20, 2019, and the same was received by the office of the Secretary, Commerce and Industries Department as well as Directorate of Mines and Geology on the same date. However, the state government did not participate in the hearing and sought one-week time to submit their statement of objections.

NMDC challenged the state government's move to cancel the extension of mining lease and e-auction of their mining lease (No. 2396). The company stated that the high court of Karnataka had quashed the earlier move of the state government to levy a premium of 80% of the average sale value of the mineral.

"The impugned order is a non-speaking order passed by the state government without notice and hearing," NMDC said during the hearing. In the wake of filing of the Revision application by NMDC on August 19, 2019, the state government hastily issued a notification dated August 20, 2019 inviting tender for auction of the said mining block and hence it should be stayed, the company pleaded.

Considering these facts, the Mines Tribunal came to the conclusion that it would meet the ends of justice if the impugned order dated August 17, 2019, and consequent action thereon is kept in abeyance. Further, the Tribunal stayed the order until the next date of hearing.