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Mining reforms fetch government more revenue

VIJAYAWADA: Asserting that the reforms in the Mines and Geology Department are providing opportunities for new entrepreneurs to take lease of mines, Mines and Geology Minister Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy has said the revenue to the exchequer has gone up in the recent years because of the initiatives rolled out by the government.

The minister held a meeting with mine leaseholders in the office of the Director of Mines and Geology at Ibrahimpatnam on Monday to discuss steps need to be taken for effective implementation of the mining policy.

Inviting suggestions from leaseholders on the reforms brought out by the government in the mining sector, he said a committee comprising leaseholders and officials of the mines department will be constituted soon.

The committee will conduct a series of meetings in two months to discuss all the mining related issues and give suggestions for the development of the sector. It will also review the pros and cons of the existing mining policy. After getting the report from the committee, it will be submitted to the Chief Minister for approval. he explained.

Recalling that mining leases were awarded on first-come-first-served basis in the past, Peddireddy said after identifying several drawbacks like the leaseholder not taking up any mining activity in the mine allotted to him, the government changed the policy and rolled out the e-auction system so as to encourage new entrepreneurs to take up mining.

Out of the total 4,988 mining leases in the State, 2,826 are working leases and no activity is going on in the remaining 2,162 leases, affecting the revenue of the government, which in return leads to shortage of raw materials for the industry, he said.