New Delhi: Concerned over several pending applications for mineral concessions in states, the Centre has asked the governments of Karnataka, Orissa, Jharkhand and other mineral-rich states to expedite their disposal.

A huge 46,885 applications including about 31,000 for Mining Lease (ML) and about 15,500 for Prospecting license (PL) are pending for the last three-four years at 11-mineral bearing states.

"The situation of backlog is particularly worrisome in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa," a senior Mines Ministry official said.

A majority of 46,885 including 452 Reconnaissance Permits (RP) are pending in these states, the official said.

Besides, 1,716 cases for renewal applications are also pending with them, he added.

This is despite provisions for disposal of RP within 6 months; PL within 9 months and ML within 12 months.

ML is granted for undertaking operations for extracting minerals while PL is granted for undertaking operations for purpose of exploring. RP, on the other hand is granted for preliminary prospecting of a mineral through regional, aerial and geophysical surveys.

Clearances to leases have slowed down due to a various reasons including spurt in cases of illegal mining, sources said, adding the governments in some states are reluctant in approving new cases.

About 24,405 cases of illegal mining have been recorded between January-March this year -- which is 30 per cent of the total cases reported during 2010.

The magnitude of the problem can be gauged from the fact that as many as 82,330 such cases were detected in 2010, almost double the 41,578 cases unearthed in 2009.