Now, BJD tries to shift mining scam slur on UPA

Facing flak for the multi-crore mining scam in Odisha, the ruling BJD tried to shift the blame on the UPA.

Updated: Dec 26, 2011, 18:49 PM IST

Bhubaneswar: Facing flak for the multi-
crore mining scam in Odisha, the ruling BJD today tried to
shift the blame on the UPA government at the Centre
accusing it of being soft towards mine owners.

Finding it tough to face the electorate in the ensuing
panchayat polls due to allegations of open loot of minerals in
the state, the BJD attacked the UPA government for not
revising royalty on iron ore and not imposing Mineral Resource
Rent Tax (MRRT).

"The state is losing thousands of crores of rupees due
to delay in revising royalty on iron ore," Chief Minister and
BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik said addressing a function marking
the 14th foundation day of the regional outfit.

Stating that the Centre allowed only 10 per cent
royalty on iron ore, Patnaik said rest of the amount goes into
the pockets of mine oweners. "What is wrong if the state
demands at least 20 per cent royalty on iron ore," he asked.

"I also don`t understand why the Centre is not
imposing MRRT on mine owners as they make super normal profit
by doing business in minerals. Though I have raised the issue
at different forum, none pays any heed to it," he said
projecting the UPA government as "pro-mine owners."
The people living in mines area, particularly the
tribals, would be benefited from the income to be generated as
enhanced royalty and MRRT, the chief minister said.

Asking the partymen to spread the good work of the
government among the people, he hoped BJD would come out with
flying colours in the ensuing rural polls too.
Patnaik highlighted how his government had worked for
the development of tribals, women, poor chidren and others.
Party MP Pyari Mohan Mohapatra was critical towards
the Centre and alleged that the mining scam of different kind
continued even today.

"As royalty was not raised, states like Odisha,
Jharkhand, Chhatishgarh and Karnataka have lost Rs 4 lakh
crore which went to mine owners who in turn funded Congress,"
he said adding the BJD government have been giving unique
facilities to farmers hit by natural calamities.

Mohapatra claimed that BJD would win at least 450
Zilla Parishad seats in the panchayat polls.

A number of senior ministers highlighted BJD
government`s achievements and expresed confidence about the
outcome of the panchayat polls.