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Opposition seeks CBI probe into mining deal

Published by MAC on 2004-11-03

Opposition seeks CBI probe into mining deal

Hindustan Times

November 3, 2004

Bhubaneswar: Members of the Opposition demanded a CBI probe into the agreement signed between Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) and Vedanta Alumina Limited (VAL) for the establishment of an alumina plant at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district in the Assembly on Tuesday.

Alleging that the agreement will affect the interests of the State adversely, Congress members said during the Question Hour that the Government has decided to hand over bauxite mines at Karlapat to VAL on a platter without floating a global tender, and demanded that the agreement with the company be scrapped.

Congress members Umesh Chandra Swain, Dhanurjay Sidhu and Sitakanta Mahapatra asked whether the government proposed to hand over the state's mining resources to private industries. Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mahapatra, Nalini Kanta Mahanty, Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mahapatra and Taraprasad Bahinipati (all Cong) alleged that OMC has no say in the proposed project. They sought to know whether the State will be benefited in any manner from this agreement.

Replying to the question, Steel and Mines Minister Padmanabha Behera said, as per the agreement OMC would hold 26 percent share in the joint venture while raising of bauxite would be done by the company. Work on the project had progressed for which the government decided to take steps to provide raw material to the company, he said adding the company would require 150 million tonnes for its alumina refinery.

Admitting that the project is yet to get forest and environment clearances from the Centre, Behera said that only test mining has started. No mining activity will be permitted till the company gets the required clearances, he added.

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