Law soon for clearing mining proposals

Law soon for clearing mining proposals

In an effort to boost investments in the mining sector, the Centre is set to modify the law to allow time-bound clearance of pending proposals.

The Ministry of Mines is likely to introduce changes in the draft Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Bill, 2011, enabling the different government agencies to clear all the pending applications for mineral prospecting as well as mining leases within an year from the passage of the bill.

The Ministry of Mines, in consultation with the Law Ministry, will initiate changes in draft legislation to protect the interests of mining companies, sources in the government told Deccan Herald.

The bill, which was drafted more than two years ago, has got the approval of the Parliamentary Standing Committee. However, it is pending before Parliament and is expected to come up in the Monsoon Session.

The proposed changes include the rule which states that pending applications in the coal sector should be cleared within the period of an year from the passage of the new bill.

For proposals related to other minerals, companies will have to apply afresh under the provisions of the bill.

Sources said relaxations can be granted only in cases where firms have already got an approval from the Ministry of Mines or a letter of intent from the state. In case of a legal dispute over applications, a decision should be taken within an year of court judgement in a particular case.

The Centre is worried about procedural delays resulting in the sluggish growth of the mining sector despite setting up a central coordination-cum-empowered committee to facilitate coordination between various departments for streamlining the clearance process.

With a whopping 48,000 applications pending before the state governments and another 225 proposals waiting for approval from the Centre, the mining companies have been complaining that the delay not only hurts the sector's growth but also hinders job creation.

Industrialists said the pendency of the bill in Parliament has resulted in delay of major mineral projects both at state and Central levels.

The Centre hopes that a speedy clearance process will not only boost the mineral production in the country but also create jobs, sources added.

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