The BJP on Tuesday said its earlier allegation of large-scale irregularities in auction of iron ore mines in Odisha now stands vindicated as the State Government in a recent correspondence with the Centre has acknowledged this gaffe.
Speaking to the media here, Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi said the State Government in a letter to the Union Ministry of Coal and Mines has admitted that leaseholders reported high-grade iron ore as low-grade after extraction.
Sarangi cited a letter she received from Union Coal and Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi.
“In its letter to the Centre, the Odisha Government has admitted that high-grade iron ore has been represented as low-grade. It resulted in a loss of thousands of crores rupees to the State exchequer. An adequate amount of funds could not be transferred to the District Mineral Funds,” said she.
Sarangi said the irregularities also led to a reduction in funds sent to the National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET).
“The Odisha government has informed the Centre that it has formed a committee under the chairmanship of the Director of Mines which is looking into it. However, the State Government has not mentioned what kind of preventive measures have been taken to improve the situation and what recommendations have been made by the committee,” she stated and demanded that these measures and recommendations be brought to the public domain.
Sarangi dared the State Government to reveal the names of the beneficiaries who made money out of the mining irregularities. “Will the State Government guarantee that such corruption will not happen in the future,” she asked.
“The State Government must also come forward to tell the people the amount of revenue losses suffered due to reporting of high-grade iron ore as low-grade by leaseholders,” said Sarangi.