BHUBANESWAR:Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday expressed disappointment over the Central ordinance on Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Act maintaining that some of the provisions, including the deemed extension under Section 8A, will restrict the number of leases which can come up for auction during the next five years.
Addressing the meeting of the governing council of Niti Aayog at New Delhi, the Chief Minister demanded that further extension should not be given to mining leases which have completed 50 years. All such leases should be settled afresh through auction in a transparent manner, he said.
Highlighting the pollution load faced by the State on account of mining and washing of coal and extraction of other minerals, Naveen demanded that a green tax should be imposed to compensate Odisha for negative effect of mining.
The Chief Minister expressed serious concern over the arbitrary cuts in Central schemes, including the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). This has resulted in incomplete projects and cost overruns, he said and added that non-availability of funds for irrigation, rural roads and railway projects has slowed down infrastructure development.
Naveen maintained that the State Government is taking necessary steps to remove any obstacles in the implementation of infrastructure projects by ensuring early completion of forest clearances and land acquisition.
Stating that the railway route length and rail density remain below the national average, the Chief Minister demanded enhanced provision for all ongoing railway projects for their completion in the next three years. He said as both the Visakhapatnam-Chennai industrial corridor and Eastern India Amritsar-Kolkata corridor have bypassed Odisha, the Centre should correct oversight and extend Visakhapatnam-Chennai corridor till Balasore.
The Chief Minister also sought Central assistance to implement the project to convert all ‘kutcha’ houses to ‘pucca’ houses in rural areas. As the project will entail huge cost of Rs 30,000 crore over the next five years, the Centre should meet at least 75 per cent of it, he said.
Conversion of all ‘kutcha’ houses to ‘pucca’ houses was one of the main poll promises of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in the 2014 election. After coming to power, the BJD Government had decided in principle to implement the project in the first Cabinet meeting.