Odisha Govt To Develop Abandoned Mines Into Tourism Destinations

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government will develop closed and abandoned mines in the State into tourist destinations, informed Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Mallick on Wednesday.

“If tourism and water bodies are developed in abandoned and closed mines, it will benefit the locals affected by the mining,” Mallick said on the sidelines of Odisha Mining Conclave in Bhubaneswar.

Speaking about auctioning of mines, the Minister said, “The Odisha government has already started the auction process of mineral blocks. Auction of nine blocks has already been completed while notification has been issued for auction of another 31 mineral blocks.”

During his speech, Manish Kharbanda, Convenor, Steel and Mines Committee, ICC Odisha State Council called for amendment in the existing guidelines meant for lease holders. He said with the existing guidelines, production in mines will not commence even after two years of allotment and industries will suffer.

“There will be a major disruption in the production of several iron ores in Odisha after March 31, 2020. It will affect many mine owners while many people will lose their jobs,” said Kharbanda.

On the other hand, Chief Secretary AsitTripathy said, “The government is trying to ensure that there is no disruption in mineral production.”