In a big relief to the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh, the Allahabad High Court has approved its new mining policy which provides for granting non-renewable leases for a period of only five years through e-tenders. A division bench comprising Chief Justice D B Bhosle and Justice Yashwant Verma passed the order yesterday, vacating the stay on mining activities in the state and disposing of a bunch of public interest litigations drawing attention towards rampant illegal excavation of minerals in the state.
On July 28 last year, a month after having stayed mining activities across the state, the court had directed the CBI to investigate the allegations of illegal mining.
The Samajwadi Party was in power in the state then. The court had passed the order on a bunch of petitions alleging that mining leases, upon expiry in 2012, were being “unlawfully extended” by officials. Yesterday, the court was apprised of the new policy by Advocate General Raghavendra Singh, who appeared on behalf of the state government. He said as per the new policy, a team of mining department officials will be set up in each district.
The team will decide on the area that will be made available for mining and the quantity of minerals that can be excavated in its area of jurisdiction.
The advocate general said initially “temporary mining permits” will be allotted, through e-tenders, for a period of six months. The government hoped to obtain a no-objection certificate from the Environment Ministry by June 15 and thereafter it will grant mining leases for a five-year period through e- tenders.
Singh made it clear that upon the expiry of the five-year term, mining leases will be granted afresh and there will be no renewal of an expired lease.
He also disclosed that in view of the monsoons, no mining activity of any kind will be allowed in the state from July 1 to September 30. The advocate general also claimed that the state government’s new policy will effectively check illegal mining and generate greater revenue.