Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Even as the Minister-in-charge, responding to an adjournment notice, rejected on June 25 the Opposition demand for an inquiry by a House committee into dubious deals in mining lease, heavyweights in the treasury benches warned the State Government that unless it changes its style of functioning, it’s support to industries may aptly be interpreted as squandering away the mining wealth mother nature has given to Orissa.

Stressing on the instance of Jindal’s procurement of around 2000 acres spread of mines through purchase from a Kolkata based company, reprimands rolled out from the treasury side over irregular allocation of the mines to the seller without assessment of his mining ability and industrial requirements.

In these pages it was earlier shown that the State Government has not yet framed a Mining Policy in order to remain unanswerable in matters of arbitrary allocation of mines.

Treasury Bench heavyweights endorsing their calling attention notice wondered if the Government has ever thought it prudent to be guided by a Mining Policy and also showed how in absence of a Policy it has granted 5000 Acres of land where 2000 Acres could have been sufficient to meet the requirement. Such squandering away of mineral and natural wealth would be detrimental to interests of Orissa, they warned.

Despite this they disagreed with the Opposition demand for a House Committee probe. The probe may be conducted by any other credible agency, they pleaded.

The Minister-in-charge rejected the probe demanded by both the Opposition and the Treasury benches. There is no necessity of any special probe, he emphasized.

However, the Minister perhaps inadvertently, revealed a chilling reality. That is, the Government’s own organization IPICOL was found not reliable in handling such probe or scrutiny in mining matters.

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