Views On Proposed Mines, Minerals Development and Regulation Bill, 2011

We focus our attention towards the pertinent sections of the MMDR bills and analyze its impact on the denizens of Jharkhand, who live in the mineral rich areas of India.

Mining Activities in Jharkhand
Mining Activities in Jharkhand

The MMRD Bill was passed by cabinet on 30th September 2011.

Maximum and minimum area of mineral concession

(7) In case of the Scheduled area specified in the 5th Schedule of the Constitution and the tribal area specified in the 6th Schedule of the Constitution, the State Government may, by notification, give preference as may be specified in the notification in grant of mineral concessions on an area referred to in sub-section (6) to a Co-operative of the Scheduled Tribes.

Our Remarks:

Tribal Co-operatives is a good idea but given the reality and many prejudiced hurdles; the Tribal Co-operatives or Tribal Individuals or even Tribal Owned Firms stand very little chance of getting the grant of mineral concessions. Still the Jharkhand Govt. could take initiative to form Tribal Co-operatives comprising of the affected Tribal-families living in mineral rich areas. But given the large scale corruption and involvement of cash rich people, the said idea would be very difficult to be implemented at the ground. It is most likely to remain an unrealized dream for Tribals.

More so when one consider that Samta Judgement of Supreme Court given in 1997 is yet to be implemented. According to the judgement, all minerals to be mined by tribals themselves either individually or through co-operative societies with financial assistance of the state. In addition, the transfer of land in scheduled area by way of lease to non-tribals, company and partnership is unconstitutional.

If the above mentioned provisions of the Bill and the judgment are implemented honestly, then it would go a very long way in curbing the impact of Maoism among the Tribals and we might see peace returning in the tribals’ areas.

Notification of certain areas for grant of mineral concessions

(10) Notwithstanding anything contained in the section, notification of an area for inviting applications in respect of public lands in areas covered by 5th Schedule or 6th Schedule to the Constitution shall be issued after consultation with the Gram Sabhas or District Councils, as the case may be.

(13) In respect of minor minerals, notwithstanding anything in this section, the procedure for notification and grant of mineral concessions shall be such as may be prescribed by the State Government: Provided that before granting mineral concession for minor minerals in an area covered by the 5th Schedule or the 6th Schedule to the Constitution, the Gram Sabha or the District Council, as the case maybe, shall be consulted.

Our Remarks:

In Jharkhand, the Gram Sabhas or the District Councils are yet to get the real administrative and financial powers as in the last one year since the Panchayat Elections took place; the State Government continues to drag its feet over the decentralization of the said powers.

Payment of compensation to owner of surface, usufruct and traditional rights, damage, etc.

43. (2) The holder of a mining lease shall pay annually to the District Mineral Foundation, as referred to in section 56,

(a) in case of major minerals (except coal and lignite) an amount equivalent to the royalty paid during the financial year;

(b) in case of coal and lignite, an amount equal to 26% of the profit to be called as profit sharing percentage (after deduction of tax paid) of the immediately preceding financial year from mining related operations in respect of the lease; and

(c) in case of minor minerals, such amount as may be prescribed by the State Government with the concurrence of the National Mining Regulatory Authority referred to in section 58.

Our Remarks:

In Jharkhand, the implementations of various government financed welfare programmes in the state are marred by both the inefficiencies and corruption at the Block, District and State administrative levels. To expect District Mineral Foundation to work in the manner prescribed in the Bill, perhaps it would be like being too optimistic and again asking too much from the same underperformers. The incidents of corruption and leakages are too high in the present day; as they happen far too regularly in the welfare schemes being undertaken by District Authorities.

Also the profit sharing model may not work as the mining companies can easily hide their companies’ profits by juggling financial-figures. Now it seems that the mining companies are more likely to indulge in the under-reporting their profitability to avoid the cash-outflows.

Payment of compensation to owner of surface, usufruct and traditional rights, damage, etc.

(3) Notwithstanding anything in sub-section (2) and the Companies Act, 1956, or any other law for the time being in force, where the holder of mining lease is a company, it shall also allot at least one share at par for consideration other than cash to each person of the family affected by mining related operations of the company and such shares shall be non transferable. (4) The articles of association of the company, referred to in, sub-section (3) shall contain provisions enabling the company to allot shares in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (3).

Our Remarks:

With illiterate and semi-literate people residing in remote villages forming the bulk of the affected families by mining, these people may find it very difficult to understand the nuances of company’s shares. No doubt, the allotment of company’s shares and subsequent benefits arising out of the same requires regular monitoring, which the majority of affected families may find it difficult to follow.

Payment of compensation to owner of surface, usufruct and traditional rights, damage, etc.

(5) Notwithstanding anything in sub-section (2) and sub-section (3), the holder of a mining lease shall, in respect of any person or family holding occupation or usufruct or traditional rights of the surface of the land over which the lease has been granted, be liable to provide employment or other assistance in accordance with the rehabilitation and resettlement policy of the State Government concerned.

Our Remarks:This was being promised in earlier Bills too, but the reality is that generally the implementation of the same is not carried out honestly.
Payment of compensation to owner of surface, usufruct and traditional rights, damage, etc.

(8) In case,

(a) the licensee fails to make payment to the persons holding occupation or usufruct or traditional rights in terms of sub-section (1), the State Government may forfeit the security deposit and make payment there from, and may recover any balance amount as provided in section 118 of this Act, and may also declare the licensee or lessee ineligible for the purposes of any mineral concessions under this Act;

(b) the lessee fails to make payment to the District Mineral Foundation in terms of sub-section (2), the State Government may initiate necessary proceedings to recover the arrears and may also take action against the lessee for non compliance of conditions of the lease in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (4) of section 24;

(c) the lessee or the licensee, as the case may be, fails to pay the compensation within three months of its determination under section 30, the State Government may on an application made to it by the aggrieved person, either forfeit the security deposit and make payment there from, or may recover the amount as provided in section 118 of this Act, and may also declare the licensee or lessee ineligible for the purposes of any mineral concessions under this Act.

Our Remarks:

As discussed above, the main challenge would be to ensure honest implementation of the above mentioned provisions.

Payment of compensation to owner of surface, usufruct and traditional rights, damage, etc.

(10) (a) The State Government shall cause identification of the person or families affected by mining related operations in such manner as may be prescribed by the State Government;

(b) The amount of monetary benefit may be determined by the State Government for each district where mining operations are being undertaken, having regard to the nature and extent to which such person or family is affected by mining related operations and for improving the quality of life of the affected person or family, and such amount of monetary benefit shall not be less than the amount a family may be entitled under the provisions of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 : Provided that till the amount of monetary benefit is determined by the State Government, the amount of monetary benefit shall be equal to an amount that such as a family may be entitled under the provisions of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005.

Our Remarks:

As discussed above, the main challenge would be to ensure honest implementation of the above mentioned provisions.

Last but not the least, we could say that the Proposed Mining Bill 2011 is certainly a step forward in the right direction, but the key issues like the implementation of its various provisions, particularly the honest implementation of the Compensation Policy or Rehabilitation and Resettlement (R&R) Policy or even the other provisions of the Bill in the Jharkhand State, would continue to be a challenge in the corrupt administrative machinery.

For the sake of common people of Jharkhand, we hope that MMRD Bill would be able to ameliorate their grievances arising out long-standing problems which are directly linked to ongoing greedy mining activities.

Team Focus

Team Focus

We are bunch of commoners and our bloggers' e-magazine focuses on the AlterNative Voices from Jharkhand, India.
Team Focus
Team Focus

Written by

We are bunch of commoners and our bloggers' e-magazine focuses on the AlterNative Voices from Jharkhand, India.

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