BJP MP Sarangi alleges massive corruption in mining in Odisha

Bhubaneswar, Sep 12 : BJP spokesperson and Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi on Monday alleged massive corruption to the tune of thousands of crores in mining activities in Odisha. Holding a press conference here, Sarangi alleged that corruption of an unusual increase in the volume of export of low-grade iron ore is arising out from Odisha and there is no value addition. "There is loss of thousands of crores to the state exchequer by deliberately downgrading the quality of ore being produced in many of the auctioned mines. This cannot happen without the connivance of the state government and its machinery," she alleged. On the completion of the earlier lease period, 20 major mines were auctioned in and around March 31, 2020. In 2019-2020, during the pre-auction period the proportion of low-grade ore in a mine used to be substantially lower. However, she said, after the auction, the new miners working on the same mines started showing disproportionately higher volumes of low-grade ore. "In just one year, how is it possible? Is it possible without the collusion of the state government and its machinery, as stated earlier?," she asked. The BJP MP claimed that this corruption is leading to payment of lower premium to the state, lower royalty to the state, lower contribution to the district mineral foundation (DMF) and lower contribution to government of India (national mineral exploration trust). Similarly, she informed that Odisha's share of low grade iron ore export from the country was 23.4 per cent only in the year 2018-2019. However, there was a sudden increase of export of the low grade iron ore over the next three years. Because, if the iron ore being exported is shown as low-grade iron ore, no export duty was being charged, said Sarangi. "It was expected that after the Shah Commission's indictment, the state government would make sincere attempts to check irregularities. Corruption and irregularities, instead of being checked, found new ways under the BJD government," the MP said. Commenting on the allegations made by Sarangi, Odisha mines minister Prafulla Mallik said the Union government has highly appreciated the reforms taken by the Odisha government in mining activities during the recently held conference of mines ministers in Hyderabad. Odisha has collected around Rs 50,000 crore revenue from mines this year, which is more than the total revenue collection from mines in all other states, he said. "I request Sarangi to ask the Prime Minister, Union mines minister and mines ministry," added Mallik. /IANS


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