Jena mining heat on BJD, BJP

Former Uni-on minister and Congress leader Srikant Jena on Wed-nesday accused the BJD government in Odisha and also the Narendra Modi government at Centre of taking "soft stand" on the mining mafia.

By Our Correspondent in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 4.01.18
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STRAIGHT TALK: Srikant Jena

Bhubaneswar: Former Uni-on minister and Congress leader Srikant Jena on Wed-nesday accused the BJD government in Odisha and also the Narendra Modi government at Centre of taking "soft stand" on the mining mafia.

Addressing a news conference here, Jena said: "Naeven Patnaik and BJP government at the Centre are hand in gloves on the mining issue. While the Naveen Patnaik government had allowed the mining mafia to loot the minerals, Modi government is now protecting mining mafia. We want to know why Modi government did not go for a CBI probe into the scam."

Coming down hard on the Odisha government, Jena further said: "There was huge illegality in mining in violation of forest and environment laws. Earlier, it was estimated that the state had suffered nearly Rs 2 lakh crore due to the illegal exploration of minerals. Later, Justice M.B. Shah computed the loss to the tune of Rs 61,000 crore."

He said: "The state government had imposed a fine of Rs 59,000 crore on the mining lesseses. Later, it had backtracked and decided to go with the observation of the Central Empowered Committeeof Supreme Court to impose a fine of Rs 17,576 crore. Instead of agreeing to it, the state government should have approached the Supreme court on the issue."

The Odisha government has managed to collect only Rs 8,223 crore by December 31, the deadline stipulated by the Supreme Court.

BJP state vice-president Samir Mohanty said: "The then Congress government had given the leases to the mining owners. Their senior leaders are also involved in it. Now, Jena is making such baseless allegations to remain in limelight.