New Delhi: The number of pending applications for mining leases in states such as Karnataka, Orissa and Jharkhand has increased by 14 per cent in the last three months even as the Centre has repeatedly asked states to clear the backlog of pending mine leases, an official has said.
"The number of applications pending for getting mining leases have increased to 48,591 this month from 42,629 in June, mainly on account of delays in grant of leases by state governments," a Mines Ministry official told a news agency.
The backlog has increased despite the Centre's repeated reminders to state governments to dispose of all pending cases on urgent basis, as provisions call for disposal of prospecting licences (PL) within nine months and mining leases (ML) within a year, the official said.
The cases are pending for the last three to four years, and the situation is worrisome in Karnataka where pending cases have risen to 19,449, followed by Andhra Pradesh at 5,237, the official said.
The pending applications include 31,247 cases awaiting grant of mining leases (ML) and 16,829 cases seeking nod for prospecting licences (PL) in 14 mineral-rich states.
While there is 20 per cent increase in PL cases in just three months, the number of ML has risen by 11 per cent in September as compared to June figures, the official said.
ML is granted for undertaking operations for extracting minerals while PL is granted for undertaking operations for purpose of exploring minerals.
Meanwhile, sources said clearances have slowed down due to various reasons including spurt in cases of illegal mining. Some states are reluctant to approve new cases, they added.
The country has witnessed spurt in illegal mining cases. In 2011, 69,337 cases of illegal mining were recorded, while in 2010 the number was 73,115 and in 2009 at 41,578.
This year 25,713 cases were recorded by March while the government has realised a fine of Rs 755 crore from illegal miners besides seizing 2,20,085 vehicles.
First Published: Friday, September 28, 2012, 18:35