Cancel permission to hydro power projects: Former Union secy to govt

The New Indian Express | Dec 19, 2022

Sarma said the government seems to have not taken nod from the National Commission for STs before taking the decision on the projects.

VISAKHAPATNAM: Former Union Energy secretary EAS Sarma has said the consent given by the State Cabinet for hydro-pumped storage projects at Kurukutti and Karrivalasa in Parvathipuram Manyam and at Yerravaram in Alluri Sitarama Raju district is in ‘gross violation’ of the Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act and the Forest Rights Act.

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Jamshedpur: DMFT approves several development projects in mining-affected areas

News Desk | 12 December 2022

Jamshedpur, Dec 12: East Singhbhum Deputy Commissioner (DC) Vijaya Jadhav convened a meeting of District Mineral Foundation Trust (DMFT) on Monday and discussed various issues ranging from health and education to minor irrigation and livelihood in mining affected areas.

The meeting was also attended by Ghatsila MLA Ramdas Soren, Baharagora MLA Samir Mohanty, Potka MLA Sanjeev Sardar, Zila Parishad chairperson Bari Murmu, DRDA Director Saurabh Sinha, NEP Director Jyotsna Singh, District Planning Officer Arun Dwivedi, District Mining Officer Sanjay Sharma and the officials of all technical departments.

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Modi Govt to Reduce Penalty for Late Payment of Coal Royalties, Forest Diversion Rules Diluted

News Click | Ayaskant Das | 29 Jul 2022

Penalties for delayed payment of royalties will be halved; new rules allow bypassing Gram Sabhas before diverting forest lands.

New Delhi: Even as big corporate entities have queued up to acquire mining rights over coal blocks from which they can sell the extracted minerals at the highest prices, the Modi government has proposed to halve the penalty rate that is binding upon leaseholders for failing to pay their royalties in time. The existing rate of 24% interest against delay in payments of royalties or rents to the Central government against minerals extracted from coal mines will be reduced to 12%.

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Clear lacunae in MMDR Act: Experts

The Hitvada Business Bureau | June 29-06-2022
The MMDR Act has certain provisions which are not conducive to mining and the nation’s economy at large. As a result, a drastic fall is being witnessed in mining output, and also a significant drop in employment in the mining sector. While the aims were sound and noble, the lacunae that crept into the acts and laws have negated several aspects which are the very foundation of nobility that the sector could have stood on, said Shivkumar Rao, President, Vidarbha Economic Development Council.

VED members, Chairman of the VED Mining committee, B K Shukla and Committee senior member Arun Deoras, highlighted a few of the salient features that stand out as problems faced by the mining sector. Obviating these obstacles will be helpful in mining, making the auction process more dynamic and will create a win-win situation for the Govt. and miners, they felt. According to them, “mineable mineral reserves” vis-à-vis “estimated mineral resource” are creating problems. The expression “mineable mineral reserve” means the economically mineable part of an “estimated mineral resource” of an area.

However, an amount equal to 0.50% of the “sale value of the estimated mineral resource” is required to be paid as auction premium as upfront payment, reserve price for bidding, performance security, net worth requirement to determine the eligibility for participation in the auction (which varies from 0.5% to 2%) and registration charges for mining lease agreement.

When extraction of a mineral is possible only up to the “mineable mineral reserve”, certainly it is unfair and does not make sense to compel bidders to pay charges / processing fee based on sale value of the entire ‘estimated quantity of mineral resources,” they pointed out.

They suggested that taxes, charges, processing fee, security deposit should be levied for mineable resources of minerals. Under section 26 of MMDRAct-2015, both the Central Government and State Government are authorised to exercise powers conferred under MMDR Act-2015. It is suggested this section should also contain a time-limit for disposal or completion of the said subject matter.

Apart from this, the penalty prescribed in section 21 of the Act is too harsh when compared to the severity and gravity of the offence of the same quantum of punishment mentioned in other criminal laws.

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