Odisha identifies 16 mineral blocks for auction

Bhubaneswar, July 23 (IANS) The Odisha government has identified 16 mineral blocks for which auction process would start by the end of October, union mines secretary Balvinder Kumar said on Thursday.

“The Odisha government has taken very proactive steps for auctioning the mines. Sixteen blocks have been identified and the Odisha government is hopeful they will start auctioning the blocks by October-end,” Kumar told media persons after holding a review meeting with chief secretary G.C. Pati here.

He requested the mineral-bearing states to go for auction of blocks in accordance with the amended Mines and Minerals Development Regulations Act (MMDR Act), 2015.

The mines secretary also urged the state government to constitute the District Mineral Foundation Funds (DMFFs) at the earliest.

“Some districts will get funds of Rs.200 crore to Rs.400 crore under DMFFs. So we have requested the state chief secretary to constitute DMFFs in all the districts as soon as possible so that funds can be transferred immediately,” Kumar said.

Pointing out that the funds would be utilised for the socio-economic development of the mineral-bearing areas and welfare of the people engaged in mining activities in the state, he said the Centre would very soon indicate the percentage of royalty to be put in these DMFFs.

Chief secretary Pati said the state government would soon notify the auctioning of mines in Odisha, hoping that the process would end by October. He said the auction process, including Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) survey of mines blocks, have already started and hopeful auctioning could begin by the end of October.

The chief secretary said only those blocks explored up to G2 and G3 levels could be put up for auction for exploration.

He said the rules framed for the DMFFs are being examined by the state law department and once the drafting of the rules was fianlised, these would be notified.

Initiating the auctioning process of mines, the government has already formed a high- level committee chaired by the development commissioner to streamline the auction of major minerals.

The committee’s mandate is to monitor the preparatory work relating to the auction of major mineral concessions, including conduct of DGPS survey and preparation of tender documents.

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