Union minister Srikant Jena seeks CBI probe into Orissa mining scam

{ Posted on Jul 28 2011 by Admin }
Categories : Latest News

Bhubaneswar, July 24: Union minister and senior Congress leader
Srikant Jena on Sunday said the Orissa government should immediately
order CBI probe into the multi-crore mining scam in the state to probe
its “honesty.”

The minister also pleaded for cancellation of the controversial Orissa
Mining Corporation (OMC)-Vedanta contract for supply of bauxite from
eco-sensitive Niyamgiri hills and resolution of raw material issues
for the Posco project.

“I have a written a letter to the Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik
to take due cognizance of the large-scale illegal mining, which not
only impacts the ecology but also leads to colossal loss of state
revenue through a series of tax evasions in the whole value chain of
the mined mineral. I have suggested him to recommend for CBI inquiry
to bring the culprits to book,” Mr Jena told this newspaper.

“Further, till the state control on major minerals is put in place,
revenue of the state can be enhanced by levying of cess over and above
the royalty on all major mined minerals in the state,” Mr Jena said in
the letter.

“The trend needs to be reversed. The long term supply contracts like
the one between the OMC and the Vedanta for bauxite supplies need to
be reviewed and cancelled forthwith in larger interest of the state.
The raw material supplies should be made available to industry only at
market linked price. In the long run, steps are required to be taken
for state control of mining resources, which will not only rectify
above anomaly but will also prevent and protect environment by way of
proper mining and planned industrialization,” Mr Jena contended.

Citing the recent rejection of Vedanta Aluminium Limited’s Lanjigarh
refinery expansion plan by the Orissa High Court for lack of proper
environment clearance, the minister said judgment established the need
for eco-friendly sustainable development.
In the letter sent to the chief minister on Friday, the minister said
the current level of royalty results in approximately 5 per cent of
annual mineral wealth coming to state in the form of royalty while the
rest 95 per cent is enjoyed by the lessee – be a trader, an
industrialist or a company. The annual royalty receipts in Orissa are
meager as compared to the enormous mining industry in Orissa.

In an earlier letter to the chief minister, the Union minister had
advocated for state control of minerals for optimal utilisation of the
resources.

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