Digvijay opposes royalty on mining
New Delhi: The provisions for sharing of
profits and royalty on mining in the new Mines Bill were today
opposed by senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh who contended
that it would become another source of corruption.
Singh, who favoured direct transfer of funds collected
through mining to the affected people, said he would put forth
his objections before the Parliamentary Standing Committee
that is currently examining the Mines and Mineral Development
and Regulation (MMDR) Bill.
"Give, whatever you want to give, directly to
the land oustees. Transfer the money directly to his account
rather than giving it to the administration," he said while
addressing a FICCI conference on sustainability.
"What is more important is not to divert these funds to
the bureaucracy by itself... it has to be given directly to
the stakeholders... Let them create a self-help group for that
particular mining area," the Congress General Secretary said.
As per the provisions in the bill, coal mining firms will
have to contribute 26 per cent of their profits, after tax,
into a district mineral fund, while the other mining companies
will have to share an amount equal to the royalty paid.
Singh said that 26 per cent profit-sharing clause is "not
practical and will not help the oustees at all."
However, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, who
was also present at the conference, defended the provisions of
the Bill by saying that the district mineral fund will get a
collection of almost Rs 200 crores, which will be used for
local infrastructure development.
"The proposal is not to take that money into a state
fund," he said explaining the government`s position on it.
The Government position, however, failed to impress Singh
who stuck his ground saying, "That exactly is my objection.
This is going into the hands of the district magistrate and
not in the hands of the land oustees."
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