Millennium Post

‘Mines bill provides for profits to be partly spent on development’

What is the status of the MMDR Bill?

Once the Bill is placed before the Parliament, the Ministry has nothing much to do. The bill is already referred to the Standing Committee on mines and they are deliberating this issue in great detail. How soon would the bill be implemented that is something I won’t be able to comment on but I hope it happens soon.

There is a general feeling that Mines Ministry is more liberal in granting lease to private parties than public sector units.

If you look at the statistics, in 2011 we allotted 95 mines to private players and eight to PSUs. In 2012, we allotted 59 mines to private parties and 17 to PSUs and so far 13 mines have been allotted to private companies and three to Public Sector companies.

In India including all major minerals the total number of operative mines is 11,003, out of which 10,437 belong to private players while 536 are being operated by public sector units which means that 95% mines belongs to private players and 5% to public sector. However, saying that I would also like to point out that the total number of mining area under the private sector is 56.48% while the PSUs holds 33.52%.

We are always sensitive to the needs of the public sector and I have always said that there should be no delay in processing the files of public sector companies.

What is the current scenario of the mining sector in Goa?

After the Supreme Court’s order of banning mining activities, we have taken the legal opinion of the Attorney General but mining should start as the ban on mining will only help illegal miners more and we cannot stop all mining activities in the state as it contributes 2.5% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

What steps have you taken to stop illegal mining?

In the last three years various state governments and Indian Bureau of Mines have filed 9,510 FIRs and ceased huge amounts of illegally mined minerals and have imposed fines of up to Rs 1,060 crore. But even after doing this, I am not saying illegal mining has stopped.

We need everyone’s support to stop this menace. We have changed certain rules and under new rules, all leases have to be registered along with the car numbers and driver details and this registration is required at all ports, railways etc. Online registration has also been introduced by the mine ministry.

What about export duty on iron ore?

This is decided by the Commerce Ministry and finance department. We have given our suggestion to reduce the export duty.

Through export, miners have made huge profits but the locals population have not benefitted at all…

That is why we are bringing the MMDR Bill, according to which for a particular mining area, huge amount of money from the profit made will be spent for local development and this will help us change the face of all mining areas and improve the living standard of the locals around any mining area.

Geological Survey of India has achieved major success in finding new minerals in our country, have there been any new developments?

So far, Geological Survey of India (GSI) has been doing arial surveys and now they will be venturing in to the sea for more exploration. For the same purpose  Geological Survey of India will be buying a Korean ship for Rs 549 crore and we are planning to allocate more funds for GSI for future explorations.

How is NALCO performing under your ministry?

NALCO is making healthy profits. It had some problems with coal supply however; they are back on track and will improve their performance in the  future.
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