Friday, 10 October 2014

Cancellation of mining lease: Jolt to Farmers too

GUNTUR : In an attempt to plug the opposition leader YS Jaganmohan Reddy, the state government on Thursday declared the mining lease term of Saraswathi cements near Dachepalli as lapsed and declared that no mining activity could be taken up by the management in the proposed lands.

Contrary to its expectations, the government served a jolt on the local farmers and development of the region as cancellation of mining lease means permanently shutting the doors on setting up the cement plant. In fact, the cancelation of lease would give breather to factory management (read: Jagan) as it might not require to rush to pool up funds to set up the plant. Except for of expiry of the mining lease, the government could not revoke sale deed held between the farmers and the factory management to give any fresh rights to the agitating farmers.

On the other hand, the farmers have lost a right to demand for setting up of cement factory. Taking a serious view of clashes between the farmers of Chennayapalem village and YSRCP activists, the state government issued a GO (98) on Thursday to declare that the mining lease granted to the Saraswathi Power and Industries (P) limited in about 613 hectors (1500 acres) as expired. The government said that the decision was taken based on the reports of field level assistant director and director of mines and geology about the non-working of mining license. "Besides keeping the license ideal, the lease holder had also not cleared the mineral revenue dues to the tune of Rs.23,922 till 2011, which is a breach of Rule-27 (1) of MC Rules, 1960 read with covenant 1 part of VII of the lease deed executed," the GO said. The principal secretary (industry and commerce) JSV Prasad said in the GO that the Lessee company had failed to file a representation under Rule 28 (2) of MC Rules, 1960 before the Government within the prescribed time limit. The GO also charged that Saraswathi Power and Industries (P) Limited failed to establish the cement plant for captive purpose and failed to furnish the environmental clearance from MoEF, Government of India.

The firm could not even furnish consent for establishment and consent for operations from APPCB under Environment Impact Assessment as per S.O.1533. Since the mineral wealth is the wealth of the nation and should be put to use for public good, government gave mining lease so that the company could do mining scientifically within the prescribed time limits and use the raw material to set up a cement plant. It was also hoped that such a plant would generate revenue for the State by way of taxes, employment for the local people and give boost to the overall economy of the region besides industrializing the area.

"None of these objectives could be achieved due to the abject failure of the Company. Hence government decided to declare the mining lease lapsed as per rules," said the GO. It may be recalled that the farmers have been fighting with the cement factory management for the last few days demanding to restore their right over the land. While the management claimed the total ownership as it purchased the lands by paying market prices, the farmers alleged that they have sold the lands at low prices with a hope that the cement factory would provide them jobs. The cancellation of mining lease completely downed the shutters on the cement factory proposals. Jaganmohan Reddy,Guntur

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