Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has managed to outsmart the Centre through his cabinet's decision of going for a public auction of all new non-coal mines in the state.
The State Cabinet took this decision at the same time and same day yesterday when the Union Cabinet approved an ordinance on the same line, Union Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan raised the issue during BJP's “Maha Sangram Samabesh”, addressed by party president Amit Shah here today. Accusing Patnaik of shedding crocodile tears for the development of Odisha, Pradhan questioned the timing of the state cabinet's decision to go for public auction to lease out non-coal mines.
While criticising the BJD government for taking a decision on auction of mines on the same day as the Union Cabinet approving an ordinance on the subject, Pradhan said, “It is a clever and intelligent move by the state government.” By taking such a decision, the state government wanted to give a message to the people that it took a decision to benefit Odisha, Pradhan pointed.
Yesterday, the state cabinet meeting approved that all new non-coal mines and mineral deposits seeking second and subsequent renewal would be leased out through pubic auction. The state government's move coincided with the Union Cabinet's decision which approved an ordinance for auction of iron ore and other minerals.
Pradhan, who was unhappy over Chief Minister's allegation of central negligence towards Odisha, also asked why the state's BJD government did not make the auction decision earlier?
“BJD is in power for last 14 years. But, they could not take this decision earlier. They did it on the same day as the Union Cabinet approved an ordinance on auction of mines. Is not it crocodile tears of the chief minister?” he asked.
Ridiculing Patnaik's statement that state's decision to go for public auction of mines as “historic”, Pradhan said, “There is no point in self patting the shoulder.” Pradhan also criticised the state government for failing to contain jaundice which has taken epidemic proportions in Sambalpur town.
Rejecting Patnaik's allegation of central negligence towards Odisha, Pradhan said it was the Modi government which raised the rate of mineral royalty much before the state's demand. “This decision of the Centre has helped Odisha”, Pradhan claimed.