Bhubaneswar: With the state government mulling to auction 40 mines, former Union Minister Srikant Jena Tuesday demanded that the government debar tainted mines operators from taking part in fresh bidding for mineral blocks.
Four days ago, Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Mallik had said 40 mines are now ready for public auction in Odisha and efforts are on to put the mines on auction early so that iron ore production is not affected in the state.
“The state government gets a lion share of revenue from mines and excise products. Now, the government has decided to put 40 mines into auction. But, the corrupt mines operators, who have looted mineral wealth worth several crores of rupees must be barred from taking part in the mines bidding process,” Jena told reporters here.
The government should take necessary steps to ensure that all tainted mines owners involved in illegal mining and penalised by the Supreme Court on the basis of Shah Commission report, are debarred from taking part in bidding process, he demanded.
He said it will be proper if the state acquires all the mines instead of putting them to auction to enable the government to earn better revenue.
The former minister suggested that the government take control over the mining operations, transportation and export of mineral contracts to industrialists from Odisha.
The state government may amend rules to provide opportunity to villagers, Self Help Groups (SHG), registered cooperative societies or companies formed by local unemployed youths to participate in the bidding process, he suggested.
All rules and regulations relating to auction of mines be made public as the government earns maximum revenue from mining, Jena asserted.
The former Union Minister has also argued that the state government should ensure that mines leases are allotted to people from Odisha and not to outsiders to safeguard the interests of the state.