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HC extends stay on mines auction notification till March 11

The High Court of Orissa has extended the interim stay imposed on the state governments’ decision to auction lapsed mines lease till 11 March, when the next hearing will take place.

“The state government had sought time to file counter affidavit in the cases. The court on Wednesday decided to hear the matter on 11.03.2015. The interim stay order has been extended till that period,” said Amit Pattnaik, lawyer for Aryan Mining Mining and Trading Corporation (AMTC), one of the applicant in the case.

The state cabinet on January 5 had taken a decision to auction all lapsed mineral leases, except coal. The decision was in accordance with a Supreme Court order in May 2014, which had directed the Odisha government to either renew the leases or cancel their renewal applications since they have completed 50 years of mining. A resolution to this effect was passed by the government on January 9.

After the notification became public, at least five mining firms, including AMTC, Mid-east Integrated Steel Ltd, Kalinga Mining Corporation Ltd and Orissa Manganese & Minerals Ltd had approached the High Court seeking setting aside of the government’s recent decision. The court had imposed interim stay on the resolution on January 16.

The mining companies were challenging the notification on the premise that the state government does not have the legislative or executive power to auction the mines leases as mentioned in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation Amendment) Act, 2010.

On Wednesday, applications of six to seven other mining companies including Rungta group was admitted for the same petition. All of these matters have been listed for 11 March.

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