Tainted mine owners be debarred from bidding in mines auction: Srikant Jena

Bhubaneswar: Former Union Minister Srikant Jena on Tuesday demanded that tainted mine owners be debarred from bidding for mines auction in Odisha and steps taken to protect the interest of the state and its people.

“Necessary steps must be taken to ensure that all the tainted mine owners who were involved in illegal mining and penalised are debarred from taking part in bidding process,” Jena told reporters here.

The senior leader’s remark comes four days after the state government announced that it has readied 36 mines for auction soon with some companies fearing iron ore shortage following lapse of mining lease.

The former minister said it will be proper if the state owns all the mines instead of putting them to auction which would enable the government to earn ten times higher revenue.

Emphasising that the interest of the state and its people must be protected, Jena said only Odia industrialists should be given control over the lease process, mining operations and transportation and export of minerals.

He further suggested that all the rules and regulations relating to auction of mines be made public as the government earns maximum revenue from mining.

Urging the state government to encourage local people to get associated with mining operations, Jena said villagers, Self Help Groups (SHG), registered cooperative societies or companies formed by local unemployed youths in the vicinity of mines should take part in auction.

Odisha’s Steel and Mines minister Prafulla Mallick had on June 7 said that a total of 36 mines are now ready for auction in the state and efforts are on for putting the mines on auction early so that iron ore production is not hampered in the state.