Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) President Niranjan Patnaik has advised the State government to keep 70 per cent of mines in the State under its administrative control instead of leasing them out to private firms.

The OPCC chief said that if the State government does not bring the majority of mines under its control, future of the State will be in darkness because it will act as an impediment in attracting large-scale industries to the State.

"If CM Naveen wants more steel plants to be set up in Odisha, he should ideally ensure that 70% mines are under the control of State government," said Niranjan.

Citing that the State receives the highest revenue from mines, Patnaik suggested setting up of another corporation like Odisha Mining Corporation(OMC) to ensure its better functioning.

Responding to the OPCC chief's suggestions, State Planning and Convergence Minister Padmanabha Behera said, "The Odisha Congress chief is himself an owner of mines so I don't know what is the real motive behind his comments. But yes the state government does have some mines in its control."

The Odisha government on last Friday issued a notification for online auction of 10 mineral blocks. The Directorate of Mines had issued the notification for electronic auction of seven iron ore blocks and three blocks of iron ore and manganese for the purpose of granting mining leases.