Mines Dept kicks off lease renewal process


As the mining lobby waits with baited breath for the Supreme Court judgement on the writ petition, things began to churn at the State level with the Department of Mines and Geology Monday starting the process of renewing  mining leases pending since 2007 and getting an ‘in-principle’ approval for renewal of one mine, an official disclosed.
The department’s proposal was cleared ‘in principle’ by Chief Minister and Mines Minister Manohar Parrikar and then sent to the Advocate General Atmaram Nadkarni for legal approval.
Mines were operating on deemed renewals till date. Once the file is cleared in all respects, and the proper procedures and formalities are finalised, the department would be sending out notices to the other mining leases and take up their proposals, and start the execution of leases. 
All mining leases will have to make payments according to the new rules, officials clarified. The Shah Commission of Inquiry had come down heavily on the deemed renewals under which state authorities were allowing mining operations to continue in the state. 
The Stamp Duty Act has been amended on a proposal by the Revenue Department to impose on every instrument of grant or renewal of a mining lease, the stamp duty equivalent to 15 per cent of the amount of royalty that would come out of the mineral extracted annually as permitted under the environmental clearance issued for a mining lease, multiplied by the period of the lease.
Parrikar is on record saying that this would facilitate the State to levy stamp duty on mine lease holders at the time of renewal of mining leases for the subsequent 20 years, adding that the amendment puts a cap on the amount payable to Rs 1 lakh per ton and promising that no relaxation would be given to the industry.
According to authorities, stamp duty charged in Karnataka is three-and-a-half times more than that in Goa, while it is four to five times more in Orissa. [H]