Odisha eyes Rs 50 cr revenue from gemstone sector

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government is considering promulgation of a policy to bring the unorganised gemstone mining sector in the State under government regulation and earn revenue to the tune of Rs 50-60 crore per annum.

Steel and Minses minister Prafulla Mallick informed this to media on the sidelines of a workshop on gemstone here on Wednesday.

“We have gemstone deposits in Kalahandi, Rayagada, Koraput, Angul, Dhenkanal, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj districts. In the absence of a policy to regulate the sector, we are not getting any revenue from the deposits. To tap the sector, we are planning to bring a revised policy and the draft will be ready by this March. We are aiming revenue worth Rs 50-60 crore a year from lease of these deposits,” Mallick said.

Raising concern over the large scale illegal transportation of gemstone to other States, the minister stated the policy would restrict such activities.

“Yes, we are going to stop this. Besides, this will also help the State government to create more employment,” he noted.

The minister informed that gemstones can be a good income source for foreign currency as they have high demand globally.

Official sources said in 2014, the Steel and Mines department had decided to undertake surveys in 80,707 square kilometer area of northwest and central Odisha to find traces of coal, gold and gemstone.