While Odisha Government is preparing a Road Map for revival of Non Working Mines in the State to spur the mining activities in the Mineral Rich State, COVID-19 is coming as a stumbling block in this regard.
Revival of Non Working Mines and expeditious auction of the Mineral Blocks will augment the production of minerals and also increase the revenue of the State Government by way of auction Premium and Royalty, but process is experiencing hurdles during Pandemic..
During COVID-19, while almost all revenue generating sectors failed to generate revenue, Mineral Sector, stood by the State and has been able to generate resources to support the developmental funding, officials admit.
Collection up to 31 August 2020, from Mineral Sector was Rs.5074.25 Crore, which was 13.44 Percent more than corresponding period of August 2019, which was Rs.4473 Crore.
Mainly one time collection from Mining Leases Renewal provided much needed fiscal space to meet the COVID-19 related expenditure on public health, livelihood generation social security net and internal security, officials admit.
So the Department of Steel and Mines is actively engaged in preparing a Road Map for revival of Non Working Mines, officials say.
While Government of India is harping on revival of Non Working Mines across the country and advised the State Governments to work on this line, Odisha Government is initiating appropriate action for activation of these resources.
Odisha Government has been successful in going for auction of 22 Mineral Blocks, now stress is on revival of Non Working Mineral Blocks in the State.
Ministry of Mines has charted out design for revival of Non Working Mines and listed out the unutilized resources.
After revival of these Non Working Mines, process will start for auctioning of these natural resources, so that there will be proper utilization of the resources.
Mineral Blocks, where exploration has been completed are to be listed for auction and those mineral blocks, which are under exploration will be expedited, so that process will be completed as soon as possible, said sources.
Ministry of Mines is also providing inputs to the State Government for preparing the Road Map and accordingly the Action Plan is being prepared by the Department of Steel and Mines, officials say.
Though the process has been activated, COVID-19 has posed serious problem in this regard, officials admit.
While COVID-19 has presented an adverse situation, authorities are reluctant to go ahead with auction process as condition is not favorable.
Accordingly, Minister Steel and Mines had requested to defer auction of Coal Blocks by three months. Out of the 41 Coal Blocks, 09 are listed from Odisha for auction.