Ramakanta Biswas

The Odisha government has acknowledged the widespread irregularities that occurred in the auction of mining of ore in the State that led to the loss of thousands of crores of rupees to the exchequer, said BJP leader and Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi on Tuesday. 

Addressing a presser in Bhubaneswar today, Sarangi said that the State government in a letter to the Ministry of Coal and Mines has admitted that leaseholders reported high-grade iron ore as low-grade after extraction. 

Citing a letter she received from Union Coal and Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi in this regard, the IAS-turned-politician said the State government has constituted a committee under the chairmanship of the director of mines to inquiry into the irregularities. 

“High-grade iron ore has been represented as low-grade. It resulted in a loss to the tune of thousands of crores to the state exchequer. As a result of the irregularities, an adequate amount of funds could not be transferred to the district mineral funds,” alleged Sarangi.  

She added that the irregularities also led to a reduction in funds sent to the National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET). 

“The State government has informed the Centre that it has formed a committee under the chairmanship of the director of mines which is looking into it. However, the State government has not mentioned that what kind of preventive measures have been taken to improve the situation and what recommendations have been made by the committee.”

Demanding that these measures and recommendations should be brought to the public domain, Sarangi said, “4.5 crore people of Odisha want to know what is your policy and character.” 

The parliamentarian threw four questions at the State government. She asked in whose pockets the proceeds of the corruption are going and will the State government guarantee that such corruption will not happen in the future.

She also asked whether the State government will be responsible if the irregularities lead to public protest.

She further demanded to know the revenue loss due to reporting of high-grade iron ore as low-grade by the leaseholders.

Reported by Harihar Chand, OTV