The Chhattisgarh government has opposed a new mining legislation, which stipulates licence allocation on a first-come-first-serve basis, stating that it is “dangerous for tribals” and would lead to loss of revenue for the State.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, who participated in the meeting of the National Development Council last week, said he has raised the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as well.
“We have opposed the new mining legislation and have raised the issue before the Prime Minister. It is dangerous for tribals,” Mr. Singh said, debunking the bill which was hailed as pro-tribal by the Mines Ministry.
Mr. Singh said that his government is opposed to various sections of the bill, which would allegedly lead to loss of revenue for the State and not benefit the tribals either.
“The legislation provides the mining licence on a first-come-first-serve basis, whereas our view is to grant it to the applicant who offers maximum revenue-sharing and value-addition,” Mr. Singh told PTI.
Chhattisgarh is one of the most mineral-rich States in India.
Furthermore, the State government should get a larger share of the profit made by mining companies, which have been allocated deposits in the State, he said.
“Why should only the trader be benefited from the mining block? There should be something like a 60:40 per cent profit-sharing model,” he said. The royalty, which is one of the main sources of income for the State from mining, was not much of compensation, he said.
Attacking the Centre for its policy aimed at local area development, he said that even PSUs operating in the States spend a meagre amount towards Corporate Social Responsibility.
“PSUs like NMDC, Steel Authority of India Ltd and Coal India spend only up to 3 per cent of their profits for local area development, instead of norms of spending about 20 per cent,” Mr. Singh, who leads the BJP government in the State, said.
Mr. Singh also sought a ban on iron ore exports, which currently attracts an export duty of 5 per cent and 15 per cent on iron ore fines and lumps respectively.
“We have raised the issue before the Prime Minister that exports of iron ore should be banned,” he said.
He joins Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa, also heading a BJP government, in the demand for restricting exports of the mineral.
The Central Government is working on a new mining legislation, which is currently being reviewed by a 10-member Group of Ministers, to make mining allocation expeditious and transparent.