Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has defended its policy resolution to reserve mineral bearing areas for the state PSU Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC).
In a letter to Mr.Rokhum Lalremruata, Director, Ministry of Mines, Mr. S.K.Popli Special Secretary to the state steel and mines department has argued that the decision was within the provisions of the MMDR act 1957.
“It may be mentioned that the rationale for taking such a policy decision has been clearly stated in the resolution itself. The state, being the owner of the mineral resources, has to ensure that the mineral resources are applied for the overall development of the community. Such ownership also carries with it the right to reserve any mineral bearing area of exploitation in the public sector. In case of finite and non-renewable resources, exploitation by the state or its agencies is the most effective method of conservation and prudent exploitation”, Mr. Popli, wrote to Lalremruata.
While standalone mining does not contribute much to betterment of the community, reservation in favour of PSU will serve the common good, he stated.
Reservation of mines for OMC would ensure fair and equitable distribution of minerals amongst the user agencies whereas in case of standalone mining, all benefits accrue to the profit maximizing entrepreneurs, the letter said.
Mr. Popli said it has been specifically mentioned in Para 11 of the resolution that the central government would be moved to accord approval for reservation as required under sub-section (2) of Section 17 (A) of MMDR Act, 1957.
The Odisha government in its 18 September 2012 resolution had taken a policy decision to reserve the areas bearing iron ore, manganese ore, Bauxite and Chrome ore in the state for undertaking prospecting and mining operation through OMC.
However the union mines Ministry has been opposing the resolution. The director, ministry of mines in his letter on 11th of February has intimated that the ministry has disapproves the reservation and had advised to decide the pending RML applications as per the MMDR act 1957.
The Letter to Mr.Rokhum Lalremruata