Maharatna company has not renewed mining leases in Jharkhand for over a decade
The Jharkhand government has accused Central government's maharatna company, Coal India Limited (CIL), of not getting its mining lease renewed and stalling the development of a tribal state.
CIL has not renewed licence for its mining leases since 2002.
Newly designated chief minister of the state, Hemant Soren, has shot off letters to CIL and Union coal ministry, seeking immediate renewal of leases. Soren said that CIL's dues to the state amount to nearly Rs 3,000 to 4,000 crore. If the interest amount is calculated, then the figure will be much higher at nearly Rs 10,000 crore.
These payments would help the state improve spendings on development. The state has performed poorly in welfare and development ever since it was carved out of Bihar in 2000. Jharkhand has demanded a special status from the Union government to boost development in the state.
D Kumar, spokesperson of CIL, Jharkhand, told Down To Earth that the exact amount of lease renewal is being worked out. “The land and revenue department of the company have been directed to finalise the exact amount that the company owes to the state government,” he said.
In his letter Soren also pointed out that apart from owing money to the state, CIL has not returned used mining land to the state. Soren is learnt to
have directed the state mining department to prepare a list of public
undertaking and private mining companies that have not renewed leases.
The disclosure of CIL's huge lease payment dues has angered experts and activists working in the mining sector who claim that CIL represents the mindset of mining companies in the state.
Punit Minz, executive director of BIRSA, a non-profit said that CIL is also accused of polluting the Damodar river in Chatra. The issue is sub judice in the Ranchi High Court.
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