The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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United mineral fight

Bhubaneswar/Ranchi, Dec. 27: The three mineral-bearing states of Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh today joined hands and clamoured for immediate review of some clauses of the Hoda Committee recommendations.

The chief ministers of the three states have signed a joint memorandum to be sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding that their views be heard before the recommendations are accepted.

“We will seek an appointment with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh shortly and take up the matter,” said Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik, who hosted the conclave here with his counterparts from Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

The governments would demand fixing of royalty of minerals on ad valorem basis for the benefit of states like Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, which have more than 45 per cent of the population living below the poverty line. “We will also seek more funds for local area development,” he said.

The Planning Commission had appointed a panel headed by retired IAS officer Anwarul Hoda to review the National Mineral Policy and recommend possible amendments to the Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Act, 1957. The panel has submitted its report to the Centre.

“We have serious reservations about some of the recommendations. We want the Union government to hear the views of the states concerned before processing the panel’s recommendations,” Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda said. The panel has suggested that export of iron ore could be continued with a review after 10 years.

But the three states, which have signed MoUs for big steel plants, have demanded that there should be gradual reduction of iron ore exports due to the growing domestic demand of the mineral in the country.

The governments, informed Koda, are peeved with the panel for recommending deletion of the section in the Act that empowers a state to select and grant mineral concession to one applicant among several.

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