Patnaik sees foreign hand behind national mineral policy

March 25th, 2008 - 10:33 pm ICT by admin  


Bhubaneswar, March 25 (IANS) Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Tuesday described the national mineral policy as against national interest and alleged that it was influenced by the international mining lobby. “It seems to be heavily influenced by the international mining lobby which has recently earned huge profit due to favourable market conditions,” the chief minister told the state assembly.

The national mineral policy 2008 was tabled in the Rajya Sabha March 20.

The policy indicated that the mining sector needed state-of-the-art technology, which only international companies can bring, he said.

“If the main concern of the central government was acquiring the technology, what stops them from strengthening Geological Survey of India and other government agencies?” the chief minister asked.

“The mineral policy categorically states that in the future, the private sector would be the main source of investment in reconnaissance and exploration,” he said.

“Since minerals are our national wealth, the central government’s decision to leave exploration activities to private players was certainly not in the national interest,” Patnaik added.

He also alleged that the policy underplayed the role of the public sector.

This policy may result in a few multinational mining companies acquiring control over vast mineral resources of our country, Patnaik added.

“We have been demanding that royalties on various minerals be ad valorem and the export duty on minerals be passed on entirely to the respective state. The policy has glossed over this very important issue, which has significant bearing on our resources,” he said.

“I will write a letter to the prime minister today to lodge my protest. I shall also be writing to the chief ministers of the mineral-rich states,” he said.

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