Mines ordinance: BJD terms Centre’s act ‘undemocratic’

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Bhubaneswar: A day after Presidential assent to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Ordinance, 2015, the Biju Janta Dal (BJD) on Wednesday termed the Centre’s act as undemocratic here.

Reacting to the development, BJD’s spokesperson Amar Prasad Satapathy said, “Our suggestions were ignored. The Centre unilaterally took the ordinance route to amend the MMDR Act. This is undemocratic.”

The state government has demanded for abolishment of the provision for the Centre as authority for revision and to allow states to levy tax or cess on minerals, he added.

“We also asked for taking the State into confidence while leasing out mines,” he said.

Further, Satapathy said, “The Centre closed its eyes to the suggestions from us.”

Countering the allegations, BJP leader Manmohan Samal said, “They (BJD government) were unable to perform their duty. Proper utilization of natural resources was not done. Instead, mining scams happened in the state.”

Samal added, “The Center‘s ordinance move will make mining activities transparent and auction money will be definitely used for development of the concerned district and state.”

There was no way the powers of the state has been restricted, he added.

Notably, the ordinance has come into force following the President giving his assent on January 12. The ordinance amends certain provisions of the MMDR Act, 1957.

According to a government gazette published yesterday, the ordinance provides for granting mines for 50 years through a competitive bidding route, including e-auction. The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had approved the ordinance on January 5.

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